Long Lines At Airports Have Got To Go, Says Travel Association

Photo – Chris Owen


The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has been working on addressing long lines at airport security screening areas for quite some time. TSA Precheck lanes are being expanded to more airports every year and Global Entry lets frequent, pre-authorized travelers to zip into the United States. Just last week, we reported faster airport screening via a new TSA program. But that’s not enough, says a travel trade organization, urging Congress to take action.

The U.S. Travel Association (USTA) is battling what they believe to be the cause of problems at our airports; budget restrictions and poor planning. They believe the current system leaves airports unable to handle millions of visitor a year. They have some specific recommendations too.

Calling for a 50-percent reduction in peak the wait times, the USTA believes it should take just 30 minutes to process travelers. They want Customs and Border Protection staffing and participation in the Global Entry Program increased. Congress should be involved in an ongoing way, and should require periodic progress reports, says the association in a list of 20 recommended policy changes.
Back at the TSA, the new system is indeed a step in the right direction, classifying travelers into three tiers — expedited, standard or enhanced — with each level requiring different procedures and qualifiers. The current system treats all travelers the same and is exactly what the Travel Association wants changed.

In an Open Letter to the U.S. Congress, over 70 travel leaders even suggested ways to fund the additional programing necessary to address the problem and increase transparency in the entire process. It’s a lofty goal but one worthy of pursuit: the U.S. economy could lose $95 billion and 518,000 jobs over the next five years due to long security and customs lines at the nation’s airports.

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Ryanair fumbles check-in, hundreds delayed

Hundreds of Ryanair passengers were left behind on Sunday, when a shortage of check-in desks caused them to miss their flights out of London’s Stansted Airport. The airline, which encourages passengers to check in online, only opened 11 check-in desks on one of the UK’s busiest travel weekends of the year, when 255 flights were scheduled to depart. 23 desks were open the previous weekend.

Over 500 passengers missed their flights. Ryanair issued an apology saying that their baggage handler, Swissport, (who also issued an apology statement) was short-staffed.

As of October, the point will be moot though, as Ryanair will no longer offer airport check-in. The airline has also announced that plans are in the works to eliminate baggage-handling as well. Passengers would need to carry their own bags up to the airplane doors.

Paying for the toilets, loading your own luggage, standing on flights. . .what’s next Ryanair? I’m guessing the planes won’t even bother to land, and we’ll just need to parachute out at our destination.

[via Breaking Travel News]