The familiar phrase of “there’s an app for that” continues to yield many nuggets of smartphone techno-wizardry, convenience, comfort, and better communications. While the saying applies mostly to common situations and pleasant experiences, it now also applies to the ugly world of racial, religious, gender, and ethnic discrimination. Airport screening discrimination to be exact. Thanks to the effort of the antidiscrimination group Sikh Coalition, the app, dubbed the FlyRights app enables air travelers to record and report the details of perceived discrimination during flight screenings at airports. The app sends the report directly to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
If users are unsure regarding the type of discrimination they are being subjected to, the app walks users through the differing types of discrimination covered by the app. The app covers gender discrimination and ability discrimination, as well as ethnic, religious, and racial discrimination. The app lets users memorialize all the key information regarding the discriminatory event soon after it happens.
In addition to the fairly obvious circumstances of racial and ethnic profiling that have been complained off at TSA screenings, the app also covers situations where nursing mothers face challenges getting breast milk cleared through the screening system. Also, passengers with disabilities can quickly and conveniently use the app to report instances where they felt they were treated unfairly or mistreated.
In addition to reacting to discriminatory instances, the app is also proactive. It provides travelers with links to screening guidelines and links to rights for travelers on the TSA’s official website so travelers are fully aware of their rights.
The app was created when a frequent flyer group of Silicon Valley Sikh entrepreneurs said to the staff of The Sikh Coalition that “there needs to be an app for that” referring to ethnic and religious profiling at airports. That was two years ago and the Sikh Coalition ran with the idea.
The Sikh Coalition is a national organization focused on civil rights. It said it consulted with various communities regarding the development of the app. The group also reached out to the Department of Homeland Security by sharing the app’s screenshots and asking for feedback.