Tuesday, March 22, 2011

“MyTSA” App Named Best Government App by Technology Industry Groups

My TSA app screen shot on smartphone. Last week, TSA was honored to accept the award for the Best Government Mobile App from the American Council for Technology and Industry Advisory Council (ACT-IAC) at its 9th Annual Excellence.Gov Awards event in Washington, D.C.  The annual event honors programs that have pushed the boundaries of innovation, quality, and overall effectiveness in the federal government’s information technology area to improve services to citizens, enhance government operations and provide a more open and transparent government.

The “MyTSA” mobile web and iPhone app was launched in July 2010 to put the most frequently requested TSA information directly into the hands of travelers, anywhere, anytime.  The app has four features, which include:
  • Airport Status: Check what airports are experiencing general delays (not flight specific) or search for conditions at a specific airport. This information is provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
  • “Can I Bring…?”: Type in an item you’d like to bring on a trip to find out if it is permitted or prohibited, and whether you can pack it in your carry-on or checked bags.  If your item isn’t in the app, you can submit it for consideration.
  • Guide: A consolidated guide to the most frequently requested security information, including the rules for liquids, gels and aerosols; ID rules; tips for packing and dressing to speed through security; and guidelines for the military, people traveling with children and those with special needs.
  • Security wait times: You can post your security wait time and see what wait times other passengers have posted for U.S. airports. The more people that use the wait time portion of the app, the better it works. 
While we greatly appreciate the award for our app, we plan to continue improving our users’ experience by implementing user’s suggestions and other innovations.  A few things we’re working on now are adding type-ahead functionality to the “Can I Bring” part of the app to help find items quickly even if you’re not sure how to spell them, adding video to the Guide section, and increasing the number of airports in the app so users can select the airport nearest them regardless of size and even set a “favorite” airport for status updates. 
Thanks to all who have submitted feedback, and if anyone else has ideas for improving the app, you can provide feedback by using the “About” button and selecting “Provide Feedback” on both the mobile web and iPhone versions.  We look forward to hearing from you!
    Lynn
    TSA Blog Team

    If you’d like to comment on an unrelated topic you can do so in our Off Topic Comments post. You can also view our blog post archives or search our blog to find a related topic to comment in. If you have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact a Customer Support Manager at the airport you traveled, or will be traveling through by using Talk to TSA.

    54 comments:

    Patrick (BOS TSO) said...

    Now how about an Android version? ;)

    Concerned Observer said...

    I didn't realize there were any government apps other than this one!

    abelard said...

    Lynn,

    Did you know there is now an app that will tell you how far you have to extend and contort your arm in order to pat yourself on the back?

    Phil Mocek said...

    Despite repeated notifications, your MyTSA Web site still incorrectly states that all passengers over 18 must present one of certain identity documents. Will TSA correct this, or continue to mislead people?

    --
    Phil Mocek
    Showing ID only affects honest people.
    What if the people with the power to secretly put your name on a "no-fly" list didn't like the reason for which you want to fly?

    Anonymous said...

    Sorry Lynn, but this app would only be of any use if the TSA were of any use. Unfortunately, apart from inconveniencing and harassing, the TSA is useless.

    Anonymous said...

    Does the app include telling the user which airports actually follow TSA guidelines and procedures, and which ones are filled with TSA employees who just make up "rules" as they go, like the ones at ATL who deliberately block cameras as seen in this video?

    Anonymous said...

    Ha, ha. Makes me glad I don't own an iphone!

    Anonymous said...

    I wouldn't trust one of your applications running on my private device.

    SSSS for some reason said...

    Congratulations! No small feat considering some of the competition you had.

    Now, if you would be so kind as to train the front-line TSO's to understand what the "Can I Bring...." portion of the app delivers. Twice now I've been told by the App that I *can* then arrived at the airport and told by TSO's that I *can't*.

    Anonymous said...

    I'm surprised they decided to pick a piece of malware.

    Anonymous said...

    How about when you check on "Ice" (as in frozen) - You don't get linked to "Service Dog"!

    Anonymous said...

    The MyTSA application is another great example of wasted taxpayer monies. Your application does not do anything but explain to passengers how they are/will be inconvenienced. Our taxpayer dollars would be better spent on improving the experience at airport checkpoints which is typically distasteful, at best.

    avxo said...

    That's cool and it's nice to be able to access the airport status/security wait times.

    I do feel compelled to point out that the "Can I Bring...?" feature is useless in the sense that what the app tells you is not useful:

    After all, even if something is not on the list of prohibited items, the TSO can still say "sorry, nope, this ain't going on the plan" and the "MyTSA" result is meaningless - even if the TSO has, by some chance, heard of the app.

    Note, that I'm not saying that such discretion is a bad thing -- some amount is necessary, although how much is enough and whether discretion should be be allowed at all for certain types of items is up to debate.

    Chris Boyce said...

    Puppy post. I'm sure you worked hard on it.

    Don't worry...we'll make sure we keep asking the relevant questions.

    Anonymous said...

    Pretty easy to win when you have no competition. How many government apps were nominated?

    And did the award committee actually use the app? They would have found out that some things that are supposedly OK to bring on the plane will still get turned down by the TSO at the checkpoint.

    Bet you didn't tell the committee that.

    Sandra said...

    Congrats

    Anonymous said...

    So when this App says I can bring my small folding scissors and some TSA employee confiscates them like they did with Congressman Mica what good will the App be?

    Why not spend the time waisted on this App and try training the TSA employees infesting our airports?

    Jim Huggins said...

    Granted, I've never used the app ... but I'm guessing that the "Can I Bring ...?" feature is misleading.

    After all, TSA says that individual TSOs have the right to deny any passenger the right to bring any item through the checkpoint if they think it's a security risk ... even if it's on the so-called "permitted" list.

    Phil Mocek said...
    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
    Anon_1984 said...

    Curtis, Lynn, etc.

    I would also like to bestow an award to the TSA, and specifically to this "Blog".

    The award is called the "Charlie Sheen - Mummar Gadhafi Clueless Award", and goes to you due to your apparent absolute inability to realize that your self-congratulatory puppy posts will immediately, and without mercy, be ripped apart by the fine American (and other) people here that have *clearly* demonstrated that "the emperor has no closed".

    But please, keep it up, absolutely a great laugh.

    SciMjr2 said...

    My God ... this is all window dressing for a completely corrupt and useless government bureaucracy!

    This is what the T.S.A. is focused on instead of dealing with the complaints it receives from 1,000s and 1,000s of travelers!

    Instead of finding new, MUCH LESS invasive ways to keep the public safe they spend, probably millions of TAXPAYER dollars to create an APP with no real function.

    As Jim Huggins quite accurately pointed out, any individual TSOs have the right to deny any passenger the right to bring any item through the checkpoint if they think it's a security risk ... even if it's on the so-called "permitted" list.

    THAT is part of the problem with the T.S.A. ... there are no uniform rules! Agents 1 & 2 see nothing wrong with my nail clippers but Agents 3 & 4 see them as a deadly terrorist weapon.

    Since the T.S.A. is so committed to wasting our taxpayer dollars in every meaningless way possible why not provide all agents with a PDA and that APP so I don't have to buy a new lighter or pair of nail clippers EVERY TIME I walk through a "Security" checkpoint.

    Anonymous said...

    Will the TSA app ever explain redundant forms of identification issued by the DHS?

    Rocco said...

    Would a moderator please actually answer some of these questions people are raising? And answer with simple yes and no instead of government doublespeak?

    If the app says I can bring something, does that mean I *can* bring it, or does it mean I might be able to bring it if the TSO feels like it?

    Can Bring something: Yes or No

    If the answer is no, then shoudn't the app have language on it that specifically says that?

    Anonymous said...

    Look, I'm not trying to be a pain to your collective, but this app does no good. I can't access it to prove to a screener that the item is permitted.

    TSA needs to get their frontline screeners in compliance, not spending time and tax dollars with apps. I'm tired of arguing, I'm tired of being barked at and I'm tired of the ignorance and stupidity and rude behavior out of your front line that does not even know their own rules.

    Seriously, how many times do we have to beg and scream and kick and ask nicely or what to get your front line screeners in line with your own rules??? This app and blog and even the website is just unfair and a poor use of time and resources (i.e., our tax dollars)if when we arrive at the airport, one is going to get screamed at for carrying an items that's allegedly permitted.

    Anonymous said...

    I checked this app for information on rules concerning searches on patdowns.. i was subject to a patdwon where the TSA guy used the front of his hand on my private area.
    He and his supervisor claimed it was OK... I just found out it was not..

    I now feel i was sexually harassed.

    it was horrible and embarrassing.

    Anonymous said...

    If the TSA app doesn't end the digital strip searches, the genital searches, the TSA thefts, the TSA abuses of our First and Fourth Amendment Rights and continues to allow a government agency to systematically make us less free while in reality destroying the Bill of Rights, it is just another worthless waste of time and taxpayer resources.

    Anonymous said...

    Comment deleted

    This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

    March 23, 2011 6:46 PM


    ...yet the Delete-O-Meter hasn't changed. Yet more lies from the TSA.

    mrflight said...

    many tsa agents do not make up the rules on the spot, however tsa has local SOP's at each individual airport, hence the rules are different at different airports, i think tsa needs to do away with the local policies that can be set by each Federal Security Director

    RayD said...

    Big thumbs up. -Ray

    TSORon said...

    I have not used the app either Jim, but if it helps some passengers out and prevents the need to abandon some personal item at the checkpoint then I am all for it.

    Anonymous said...

    TSORon said...
    "if [the app] helps some passengers out and prevents the need to abandon some personal item at the checkpoint then I am all for it."

    No matter what the cost?

    No matter that the money could have been better used?

    Give us an app to identify where your staff are failing to comply with your own rules.

    Anonymous said...

    The TSA blog often censors my comments. I am posting this here and on another site.

    If the TSA app doesn't end the digital strip searches, the genital searches, the TSA thefts, the TSA abuses of our First and Fourth Amendment Rights and continues to allow a government agency to systematically make us less free while in reality destroying the Bill of Rights, it is just another worthless waste of time and taxpayer resources.

    Alex said...

    Ron,

    I'm all for helping out the traveling public, but this app is a disservice to the public. Every time the app states an item is okay to travel with and the TSOs on the ground rule differently, you have invited a passenger to abandon personal items that otherwise would have been left at home or packed differently.

    Therefore this app increases the likelihood of losing property, and it increases that likelihood specifically for people that are trying to be proactive to not lose their property.

    -------------------------
    TSORon said...
    I have not used the app either Jim, but if it helps some passengers out and prevents the need to abandon some personal item at the checkpoint then I am all for it.

    March 25, 2011 1:17 PM

    Anonymous said...

    In related news, Jane Smith is named Best Ballerina in Galveston.

    Anonymous said...

    Where is Senator Proxmire when we need him?

    Anonymous said...

    Does this app tell me anything actually important like:

    - The number of fully-trained TSOs vs poorly-trained at my nearby airport?
    - How many complaints of 'improper procedure' have been filed for my nearby airport?
    - If AIT is in use, are the TSO's wearing dosimeters and are they properly trained in the use of the AIT systems? Just because they are TSO's does not mean they can't develop cancer from workplace radiation, and I really don't want to have to pay for inevitable the lawsuits and medical expenses when they do.
    - Did the document checker pass their classes, or will they declare my identification invalid?
    - Will I have a bad experience because the yutz ahead of me in line thought it would be funny to harrass the TSO about their job?
    - How many sleeping TSO's will I see in O'Hare?

    Anonymous said...

    I suspect this app was written by contractors - typically talented programmers can make much more working for contractors than for the USG.

    Given the TSA's shameful contention that contractors were responsible for the "errors" in radiation detection, why isn't the TSA giving the credit to contractors for this app?

    Anonymous said...

    Best Mobile App awarded by the American Council for Technology and Industry Advisory Council (ACT-IAC). The motto of the ACT-IAC? "Advancing government through collaboration, education and action."

    Orwellian doesn't quite cover it, does it?

    Anonymous said...

    This App only works on phones that have been surrendered at the check point.

    Anonymous said...

    TSA gets a pat on the back by a company that makes a profit by training federal executives. Quid pro quo?

    shayne sherman said...

    Will this work on my Iphone 3GS? or do I need to upgrade to the Iphone 4?

    Jim Huggins said...

    TSORon writes: I have not used the app either Jim, but if it helps some passengers out and prevents the need to abandon some personal item at the checkpoint then I am all for it.

    Of course, if the TSA App says that some item is "permitted", and the TSO on duty and the checkpoint says that they're forbidding that item, then the app hasn't helped much. In fact, it's probably made things worse, by raising the expectations of the passengers.

    TSA should simply give up talking about "permitted" items. It's abundantly clear that there is no such thing as a "permitted" item. There are items that are always forbidden, and items that are sometimes forbidden. That's it.

    kimm said...

    Yep wonderful app...and so WHY was I told at one airport that I indeed did NOT have to take out my 10" mini laptop and another one said I had to before it went through?

    I thought, as per TSA, laptops that size CAN stay in their cases? that way WHY I bought a small one for travel.

    Another waste. Congrats!

    Anonymous said...

    Does the "Can I Bring" section include a big NO for large amounts of cash?

    Anonymous said...

    Bob,

    Can someone from your blog address what's up with the "freeze" thing at the airports lately?

    Numerous passengers are reporting being yelled at by the TSA for moving after an agent shouts "Freeze! Nobody move!" I didn't think the TSA had the authority to detain passengers, much less prevent them from moving.

    Anonymous said...

    What, Bob? No response to the posts here that point out TSOs don't bother following the rules anyway, so 'an app' that displays the rules is useless?

    I guess you are off trolling the internet for myths, rumors and other "hot topics" to comment on, rather than paying attention to the quite valid concerns right under your nose. Well, here are some topics you should definitely stay away from:

    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/queens/flier_tsa_grope_nightmare_5EsDbrQPc99DADfZNBjI4J
    "Campbell had already cleared security and was approaching the gate when the young agent stopped her, told her to drop her stuff and demanded she stand spread-eagled.
    As passers-by gawked, the TSA agent patted Campbell down, touching her breasts, inner thighs and crotch, the freaked-out flier told The Post.
    When she protested, the agent said, "You can either continue on flailing about, or you can let me do my job. If you don't, you can't fly."
    "

    You absolutely don't want to tell us why the TSA is now randomly searching people even AFTER they have been through security.

    You also don't want to comment on this case:
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41959553/ns/business-us_business/41955517
    , in which a Wiccan TSA agent is accused by a co-worker of putting a hex on her, and then fired when she complained about the harassment. Fired, despite the fact she was the victim, and "in the top 10 percent in Albany at catching weapons on the X-ray machine." I mean, hey- the TSA doesn't need employees that can accurately find weapons, Right?
    The accuser (who thinks Wiccans can stop the heater in her car from working by supernatural means(really!)) is still employed by the TSA.
    "Keeping America Safe... unless someone puts a spell on us."

    And, of course, don't mention Texas House Bill 1937 that would make it a criminal offense for anyone, including TSA agents, to grab private regions during a pat-down.

    Anonymous said...

    “My TSA” gives you 24/7 access to information that passengers frequently request from the Transportation Security Administration. This app is the best!!

    Danger Boy said...

    Here's a useful add to the App. A "prove it TSO" function, where we can bring up, on the TSA's own App, whatever reg we feel the TSO has just broken when they harass us. Then you should allow us access to our device when a dispute occurs, so that retraining happens in an immediate fashion.
    I have a feeling that wouldn't go over too well, though.

    www.dangerousleanings.blogspot.com

    Anonymous said...

    Anonymous said:
    "Numerous passengers are reporting being yelled at by the TSA for moving after an agent shouts "Freeze! Nobody move!" I didn't think the TSA had the authority to detain passengers, much less prevent them from moving."

    TSOs yelling "freeze" have the same legal authority that the janitor does. Laugh at them, call for a LEO and ask why the TSO tried to unlawfully detain you, which trying to restrict your lawful movements is.

    Underpaid, undereducated and underpaid people playing Hawaii 5-0. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Anonymous said...

    Anonymous wrote: I guess you are off trolling the internet for myths, rumors and other "hot topics" to comment on, rather than paying attention to the quite valid concerns right under your nose.

    Bob doesn't troll.

    That's what the rest of the so-called "Blog Team" is for.

    Bob just posts what he's told to post, which is how we ended up with the "VIPR team can't read a watch or clock" excuse for what happened in Savannah.

    Maybe they should make an app for that.

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    Horizon T101 Treadmill Review said...

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    Nick said...

    Do you know if there's an Android version, or an equivalent? I can't seem to find it on Google Play. Thanks

    Jeanelle From Review C said...

    To find the " my TSA app for android devices, just google " my tsa app google play" and the first link should be it. Hope I helped