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10 Tricks TSA Can Learn from Coldplay

I had the opportunity to see Coldplay perform earlier this week. Not only did I get enthusiastic and high-quality entertainment, I got a lesson in behavioral response. As I watched the crowd go wild, I thought to myself, in what other social context could these techniques be used? As anyone who has traveled by air in the past decade knows, airport security can be a real downer. No matter how many trips I take, I can't say I've ever had a security experience that made me want to go back for more. TSA should really take a page out of the Coldplay playbook. 

Using these ten techniques TSA might be able to get travelers begging for an encore.

  1. Tell everyone walking through that they are awesome, repeatedly. As they walk through TSA should make sure each traveler knows they are the best passenger at any airport in the world. 
  2. Incorporate the name of the airport city in as many sentences as they can. "Please step this way CHICAGO!"
  3. Ask everyone to show their hands. I know the TSA agents do this when people go through the scanner, but asking at random intervals seems to incite pure joy.
  4. Throw around large balloons and randomly display rotating general inflatable objects. People will be thrilled when a large plane-shaped inflatable pops up behind the full-body scanner. They will want to go back through to see what will show up next.
  5. Throw confetti, lots of it. Shoot it right into people's faces. No one can resist a squeal when bits of colorful paper are thrown about. Other than ticker tape parades and surprise parties, I cannot think of another social context in which this would be acceptable, but it might bring a whole new level to airport security.
  6. Film the whole experience. Project it on a large screens above the security checkpoint. People get excited when they see themselves on the screen. The TSA rockstars should be on there too so the queue can cheer them on. 
  7. Incorporate geisha and eastern god figures on the screens. It will provide an other-worldly feel.
  8. Show near-spastic enthusiasm. It is okay for an adult to skip. The agents should jump around and occasionally throw themselves on the floor. The travelers will appreciate this enthusiasm and will feel more energized by the security experience.
  9. Throw their equipment around like badasses. They should not break any of their equipment, but the occasional security wand thrown to the ground will emphasize their emotional tie to the experience.
  10. Flashing lights and random spotlights. The security checkpoint should be lit up like the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. Shine lights on the passengers. Use the lighting to bring focus to the TSA screeners. Make the travelers feel like part of the experience, giving them flashing arm bands as they hit the first point and show their tickets/identification. The travelers will be so mesmerized by the lights, that they will do whatever the TSA agents ask of them. 
With these ten behavioral tricks from the Coldplay methods, I think TSA could make the security experience the highlight of any trip. The travelers may never want to leave!


  1. Great ideas! You're hired as a consultant. ;-) Hip hop and rap . . . also to consider.


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