How safe are U.S. airports?

Story highlights

  • Jeff Price: There are huge differences in airport security systems around the world
  • Security personnel must be allowed to make common-sense decisions, he says

Jeff Price is professor of aviation management at Metropolitan State University of Denver, and lead author of "Practical Aviation Security: Predicting and Preventing Future Threats." The views expressed are his own.

(CNN)The crash of EgyptAir Flight 804 early Thursday and the recovery of some wreckage Friday was a tragic end to a week that had begun with viral video of huge lines at Transportation Security Administration checkpoints in the United States. These two developments have understandably raised two related questions about aviation security: Are we doing the right things, and are we doing the right things right?

There is a common misconception that aviation security systems throughout the world are essentially the same. However, while commercial airports and airlines share commonalities in certain practices and procedures, there are huge differences in many important areas. And while the International Civil Aviation Organization establishes the standards and recommended practices for all areas of aviation, including airport and airline security, the standards are often overly generalized and can be broadly applied.