Bill Alen - May 6, 2008

Ever since the appearance of the threat of terrorist attacks and their horrible existence America has been petrified of foreigners visiting their country. Be it sheer arrogance or genuine fear, there is no doubt that the American security system, especially at airports and border points, is the strictest on the planet. Tourists and tourist organisations have so far had little difficulty in accepting these measures, yet the new fingerprint regulations, which involve the American government demanding that airlines take the fingerprints of passengers even when leaving the United States, have been met with scorn and bitter disagreement.


Airlines claim that they have spent many years trying to come up with solutions to make customer life easier and create an atmosphere of self-service. The new regulations can only be seen as a big step backwards in this field. It has also been described as the most expensive security programme in the history of aviation. What bothers the airlines is the fact that the airlines themselves are forced to pay and the American government does not have to sacrifice even a dollar.


The expenses could reach an astonishing 3 million USD over a ten year period. Much of the cost is estimated to be in the fact that subsequent delays can cause large losses for the airlines. The taking of each set of fingerprints can take around 1 minute, sometimes more, so imagine the potential delays on flights with around 300 passengers. The time factor, along with the sheer principle of the matter, is sure to put people off travelling to and from the United States. The point is why would they bother when they can go anywhere else without being lured into degrading security procedures? It could be fair to say, that the Americans are shooting themselves in the foot by being over cautious, or over arrogant depending on the way you look at it.


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