We've said it here before: The TSA has one of the toughest missions in government, keeping the skies safe whine letting millions of passengers--thousands of them certifiable jerks--embark with a minimum of delay and intrusion.
And every time someone is slightly inconvenienced, or we see a nice old lady singled out for a bonus search, or we have to wait five-minutes-that-seem-like-an-hour at security, we gripe to about 30 of our closest friends.
The TSA can't do much about speeding up security-zone times. But it can let you know how long those delays are. The agency has developed My TSA, a new iPhone app (and, for the non-Apple world, a site for the mobile Web) that lets you know general conditions and delays at airports, as well as the security-zone waiting times.
There have been other websites that use airline data to publish average delays at airports. But this is the first we've seen that takes a shot at the security-wait time.
My TSA iPhone App The information about the security zone comes from, you, the public. It relies on the participation (and accuracy) of folks using the app, who decide to upload the data. In other words, if you're standing in the long security line at the airport in Las Vegas on the last day of a mega-conference, instead of sitting there stewing you can upload that information so others using the app can catch an earlier shuttle bus.
A quick scan of info from various airports shows that for the security times, many smaller airports lack any data. That's wheat happens with crowd-sourcing, since it takes someone on the ground to provide the data. But those small airports generally have shorter waits anyway.
The app/site has other TSA information, like a guide to what you can and cannot bring onto a plane. It's one of 18 new government apps on the recently revamped usa.gov website.
It's free, anonymous, and could soon become part of every frequent flier's arsenal. And it's the Government Video Website of the Week!
Just remember to turn off your mobile device when the plane starts taxiing.
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