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TSA may soon answer your questions via social media

The TSA may be ready to talk to you now.

The Transportation Security Administration, following the lead of several major airlines, is considering a plan to respond directly to questions and comments from travelers, via Twitter.

The agency that was formed in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks sent out a solicitation last week for a business to help the TSA create a web-based system that lets a team of ten employees respond to Twitter posts aimed at the agency. The TSA would reply with the handle @AskTSA.

“Our goal is to improve the traveler’s experience through one-to-one conversations on Twitter to actively assist customers before, during and after their travel,” TSA spokesman Bruce Anderson said.

Many major airlines already use social media to communicate directly with their customers by answering questions in real time. In some cases, airline representatives give travelers specific information about their situation.

For example, Southwest Airlines passenger David Higgins posted a message on Twitter at 9:49 a.m. Friday about missing his connecting flight in Dallas and having to sleep in Amarillo. In less than 15 minutes, @SouthwestAir responded with: “David, thanks for your patience. [Direct message] us your confirmation number, and we’ll take a closer look.”

But don’t expect to get the TSA to divulge specific information about its security operations.

The solicitation said that the TSA wants to include in the proposed system a “robust content repository to store pre-approved content, canned responses and approved images.”

To read more about travel, tourism and the airline industry, follow me on Twitter at @hugomartin.

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