Small companies grow and become big companies and while that may make early shareholders and founders rich, bigger companies have a set of ongoing difficulties all their own (check Apple’s stock price). Just like government bureaucracies. After a nasty set of experiences while traveling through a few airports recently, Transportation Security Administration, I’m looking at you– and thinking, ‘What would airport travel be like if Apple ran the TSA?‘
Save Us, Apple
How could Apple take over the TSA? First, Donald Trump gets elected President. Second, and with Congress’ approval, Trump privatizes a variety of government agencies (IRS, Army, Navy, Air Force, NASA, EP, Social Security, et al). By selling off money-losing federal agencies for a profit, Trump would then take the proceeds and pay down the national debt.
One of the most potentially lucrative government agencies ripe for disruption is the much hated Transportation Services Administration; the TSA in charge of airport security (and other things, but that’s the function we’ve come to hate). I don’t know what the TSA would sell for but it doesn’t matter. Apple has the money and the expertise to make the airport experience as good as using an iPhone or an iPad.
Here’s one area where Apple could improve the TSA. Employees. Apple Store employees are universally helpful and pleasant, two characteristics which TSA agents must be required by law not to demonstrate. So, Apple Store employees, don your t-shirts and head for the airport. You have a new job.
Second, TSA Pre. The idea here is good. Pay a modest fee and get preferred entry at various airports. My husband and I both went TSA Pre and it works. Almost. Whenever I get preferred service he does not. Whenever he does I do not. We have yet to ever travel together and get TSA Pre at the same time. Ever. Never. Apple could fix that in a heartbeat with an extension to AppleCare to cover not only our devices, but each other on the Family Plan so both of us could utilize TSA Pre on the same flight.
Third, just like at an Apple Store, each airport would have TSA airport greeters to direct waiting passengers to their gate. We could schedule our security checks on the Apple website, just like we do with visits to the Genius Bar. Cool, no?
Fourth, what’s with removing clothing and stripping our Macs out of their case into the plastic container to be scanned? The iPad is a computer, TSA people? Do those TSA agents ever actually find anything in those scans? Don’t terrorists already know they can’t put explosives in their shoes? But socks are OK? Apple would do away with the scan and employ a simple iPhone camera Retina scan of each passenger.
With hundreds of millions of passengers flowing through airports each year Apple would develop a Retina database that would easily filter out terrorists and politicians and put them both on a No Fly List while allowing everyone else to pass through security unimpeded, moving quickly to their flight’s gate where drinks and snacks will be served to those who own Apple products. If you can tell that a politician is lying because his or her mouth is moving, then you can tell a politician and a terrorist by a Retina scan of their eyes.
No Fly For You!
Apple’s entire history has been all about the user experience and what user experience is worse than a trip through a TSA security station? A good user experience can’t be free. Would Apple charge more than the TSA does now? Of course. There should be a price for a good experience. Android device owners would have a separate line to get through TSA security, and that might include body searches. An annualized AppleCare fee would ensure that we never wait more than x-number of minutes at a TSA security checkpoint.
Does anyone doubt that if Donald Trump privatized government agencies, including the TSA, that Apple would make the whole travel experience better than it is today?