American Airlines Workers Told to Expect More Security Screening This Holiday Season

Travelers flying this holiday week aren't the only ones who will face tighter security.

Fort Worth-based American Airlines has put out a notice to pilots, flight attendants and ground crew workers saying they will face more scrutiny this holiday season.

In a message obtained by NBC 5 Investigates, the airline's corporate security director tells employees, "…we anticipate the random screening process to increase throughout December and during the 2016 calendar year."

"These random screening protocols vary by time, location, and method to enhance unpredictability," the memo states.

This comes as members of Congress call for tighter controls after an NBC 5 Investigation revealed gaps in airport security.

The Transportation and Security Administration has vowed to step-up random searches of airport workers. Right now, tens of thousands of employees are allowed to bypass the checkpoints and enter through side doors using airport-issued ID badges.

Earlier this year, an NBC 5 Investigation more than 1,400 airport ID badges missing or stolen at Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the busiest airport in the country.

The report prompted language in new bill in Congress that would tighten controls over those IDs and would also increase screening of airport workers.

"Our concern is that there isn't enough enforcement," said U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-SD) during a March interview with NBC 5.

Thune, who chairs the U.S. Senate's transportation committee, is leading the charge on this issue.

He says the TSA has told him Atlanta was not the only airport with a large number of missing IDs but TSA was unable to provide exact numbers at all airports.

"The question is these are the things we got from the TSA that they know about. What's really concerning is the things the TSA doesn't know about. Obviously they delegate a lot of the oversight of some of these areas to the individual airports," said Thune.

Sources tell NBC 5 Investigates Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport is not one of the airports with a large number of lost and stolen IDs.

But records obtained earlier this year documented a couple of cases at D/FW where IDs were missing for days before they were reported and shut off in the system.

The new bill the Senate is considering would increase fines for workers and companies that fail to notify airports when a badge is lost or needs to be shut off because a worker has been terminated.

It would also require TSA to do even more random screening of workers, and as American Airlines is now telling employees, workers should expect more screening right away at airports across the country.

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