June 24, 2017
The current research examines how American air travelers perceive various risk-based airport security screening policies that vary in terms of selection procedure and agency. Respondents were randomly assigned to one of six experimental conditions that differ in terms of procedures for selecting passengers for enhanced screening. Respondents were presented with a conventional security option and a risk-based option, and were asked to rate these policies in terms equity, safety, and convenience. They also indicated anticipated feelings if selected for an enhanced screening in the risk-based procedure. Results suggest that the conventional approach was perceived as safer and more equitable but less convenient. Importantly, while different passenger selection procedures for enhanced screening led to distinct perceptions and feelings, respondents were indifferent between an equivalent selection procedures conducted by humans versus by computer.