WASHINGTON (AP) -- Airline passengers soon may be able to board a plane without being asked whether they have kept a close watch on their bags. And starting right away, they can take drinks through security checkpoints.
The Transportation Security Administration, created after Sept. 11 to oversee airport security, is seeking ways to make travel less onerous. Among the considerations is getting rid of the questions, says agency chief James Loy.
"A review is under way," Loy said Thursday at a news conference in San Francisco. He said it was part of an examination of a larger body of regulations and that a decision would not take long.
For the past 16 years, ticket agents have been required to ask passengers two security questions: "Has anyone unknown to you asked you to carry an item on this flight?" and "Have any of the items you are traveling with been out of your immediate control since the time you packed them?"
There is no hard evidence the queries have prevented a hijacking or bombing. Many passengers question the value of the questions.
The Air Transport Association, which represents big airlines, would welcome the change, spokesman Michael Wascom said.
"All passengers do not pose equal security threats," Wascom said. "Why should we continue to ask these simple questions of everyone? We should be focusing on people who are higher security risks."
Loy, who took over last month, said the agency wants to balance customer service and security.
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