Industrial Engineer Engineering and Management Solutions at Work

December 2016    |    Volume: 48    |    Number: 12

The member magazine of the Institute of Industrial and Engineers

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The right incentives for airline security

I was pleased to read your [Editor’s Desk column] on air travel (“Leaning the Friendly Skies,” June). My unique studies have a perspective that might prove of some value. The product of the airline is a travel experience, which seems somehow to have been missed by the industry. People pay only once for their travel experience, and the flight is only a part of the service they receive.

They are received by the airport as to parking and access. They are subjected to monitoring for security by government contractors. They are given access to their travel mode by the airport.

The customer pays only the one bill for the whole travel experience. The airlines should demand control over any product for which their customers will pay. Even the public portion should come in a way that identifies that this part of the effort is not funded by the airline and is not a part of the service they are able to provide. This same logic was used to provide airline hostesses on planes — it is part of the experience, even though it is not specifically transportation.

If the airline was held accountable for security, most of the current regulations would go away. The airlines would treat their customers better and would be responsive to security issues that might impact either the safety of their equipment or their customers. Security would not be a regulatory add-on; it would be a necessary part of the product that the companies deliver. In that scenario, customers would sue them out of existence if their lack of attention led to some of our modern air disasters.

Some years ago I passed this concept to a few airlines to see what sort of response I might receive. I received the peaceful silence that really was not what I wanted.

Jesse Brogan
The Management Upgrade Shop
Edgewater, Md.

Send letters to Michael Hughes at or to IIE, 3577 Parkway Lane, Suite 200, Norcross, GA 30092. Correspondence to the editorial staff is treated as a letter to the editor unless otherwise indicated. We reserve the right to edit letters for length, style and clarity. Include your city and state of residence or employment. Letters from anonymous authors will not be published, but we will consider requests to publish letters with the author’s name withheld.