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In the Twitterverse, TSA gets a really bad rap

What the Twitterverse said this year about TSA’s best and worst airports. (Travelmath)
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Airline passengers in Kentucky like to tweet positive things about the Transportation Security Administration. But in Connecticut, not so much.

Oakland International Airport in California is definitely not a favorite on Twitter: Too many bad experiences in the TSA security line. But 360 miles down the coast at Burbank Bob Hope Airport, passengers seem to love their security screeners.

The online trip calculator Travelmath looked at the Twitterverse for the first four months of 2015 and found 7,377 posts about TSA experiences. Based on the terms in the tweets, the company determined whether the posts were positive, negative or neutral, and posted the results on its Web site.

“Basically, it was based out of curiosity,” said Cash Lambert, who does public relations for Travelmath, whose survey, “TSA Sentiment According to Twitter” came out last month.

“We wanted to determine if social media played into what people think about the TSA,” he said.

Burbank and Oakland represent the best and worst airports for security line experience, the survey found, based on latitude and longitude coordinates of passengers’ phones or other devices.

The most common words accompanying Twitter posts about TSA were “search,” “confiscate,” “grope,” “rude,” “took my,” “delay” and “stole.”

The bad news for TSA: The found that the majority of Twitter posts were negative at almost every major airport, with the most negative Twitter posts aimed at TSA agents at Oakland International.

“The lone outlier — Burbank, CA — was not only the most positive airport; it was the only positive airport,” the study concluded.

It’s pretty much of a given that when people like a service, they don’t make an extra effort to rave about it — especially if it’s just fine and not extraordinary. If they’re unhappy, they’ll complain, and smart phones make the process instantaneous, as shown by a random search of Twitter posts late Monday.

New Orleans and Austin were ranked Nos. 2 and 3 after Burbank for good TSA experiences.

Burbank may be rated so highly because after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the airport expanded the terminal by about 4,300 square feet to make sure that TSA agency had enough room for scanners and passenger lines.

TSA spokesman Bruce Anderson declined to comment on the survey, but he said in a statement that “TSA values input from the public, including via Twitter. The input helps us better understand how the public perceives our work.”

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