Too many travelers… Not enough TSA agents.
Airports across the US are seeing extremely long lines at TSA checkpoints, and wait times that we haven’t seen since the days following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Some airports, like Denver International, are advising airline passengers to arrive THREE HOURS early to ensure they make their flight. Denver is notorious for having horrible lines at TSA, but even less popular and more efficient airports are seeing incredibly long waits. (Not looking forward to dealing with that mess in a couple of weeks.)
It’s a hot button issue in America right now. As gas prices, and ultimately airfare prices, have dropped, more travelers are taking to the skies. But TSA doesn’t have the staff, or the funding, to keep up with the demand, so long lines are the result.
Some airlines have launched a social media campaign called #IHateTheWait, encouraging passengers to tweet pictures of the long TSA lines using the hashtag. But I take issue with this. I was always taught if you aren’t part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Instead of throwing shade at TSA, airlines should try to do their part to alleviate the issue. What can they do?
Airlines should temporarily waive checked luggage fees.
If the airlines waived the fees for checked bags, even temporarily while federal funding issues are worked out, fewer passengers would feel it necessary to carry on their luggage, reducing the amount of time TSA screeners have to spend scanning luggage. The security lines would move quicker, passengers would make it to the gates on time, and airport operations would move more efficiently.
It seems simple: Fewer bags, fewer problems.
Travelers need to do their part as well… Remember – if you’re not part of the solution…
My husband and I have always prided ourselves on being the people you WANT to be behind in the TSA line. We move through security easier than a knife moves through softened butter.
Even now, traveling with a toddler, we usually glide through the airport without the slightest bit of turbulence.
Doing so requires a bit of pre-planning. But if everyone did their part, things would move a bit smoother through TSA.
Here are my top five tips to speed up the TSA process.
Dress like a traveler: No need to wear boots that are difficult to get on or off, heels, tight jeans, or a short shirt that makes it hard to bend over without showing your crack to the unfortunate people behind you. Dressing like a traveler also means coats, scarves and large, chunky jewelry should be avoided. Instead, opt for slip on shoes, comfortable clothing, and limited accessories.
Bag and separate liquids ahead of time: Before you even head to the airport, make sure your liquids are acceptable and in the right sized, clear, plastic bag. Place that bag at the top of your carry-on or purse so it can easily be separated and placed in the bin on the conveyer belt. And don’t even think about trying to sneak one by TSA… Sure it may work from time-to-time but that one time it doesn’t you will not only have to dispose of your expensive perfume or favorite hair product that you just had to stash in your carry on bag, you’ll also have to deal with the angry looks from your fellow travelers who will be annoyed at you for holding up the line.
Know the rules: I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen get to the front of the TSA line without realizing they were supposed to remove their shoes and belt or take their laptop out of its bag. Knowing the rules ahead of time will save you – and everyone else – a lot of time in the line. I’ve written a post specifically for those flying with expressed breastmilk or formula so you can move through security quickly even with a bag full of liquid.
Leave extras behind: This kind of goes back to dressing like a traveler. Make sure your pockets are empty, chose a hairstyle that doesn’t require a million bobby pins, and ladies, you don’t need to wear 15 bangles on each wrist or a multi-chain necklace to the airport. Do a quick check of your purse and person before leaving the house and remove anything that isn’t necessary and place it in your checked luggage.
Prepare kids for the process: Infants and toddlers can be worn in a baby carrier through security, which actually makes the process easier with young children. Older kids should be prepped for the process. Check their pockets, remove their coats or jackets beforehand, and the same rule with the bobby pins applies to your little girls.
Finally, if more people would take advantage of the Pre-Check program it could help significantly. Unfortunately, TSA doesn’t make it all that easy, requiring travelers to appear in person for fingerprinting prior to approval. If they made the process easier, or offered additional incentives to those who paid the one-time fee and signed up, perhaps they’d have greater participation… And we would have less to complain about at the airport.