U.S. airlines are improving on-time performance and canceling fewer flights — but that doesn’t mean passengers aren’t still waiting at the airport.
The Transportation Security Administration is under fire for increased wait times at security checkpoints, and the latest criticism comes from American Airlines.
“The lines at TSA checkpoints nationwide have become unacceptable,” American spokesman Ross Feinstein said in a statement. “Our customers are waiting in TSA lines greater than one hour.”
Last month, the TSA advised travelers to plan for extra time at security when heading to the airport this spring and summer.
For major airlines trying to serve more passengers than ever, longer lines are, in a word, unacceptable.
From March 14-20, during the popular travel time of spring break, about 6,800 American Airlines passengers were so delayed at checkpoints that they missed their flights, reported NBC News.
A TSA spokesperson responded that the number one challenge right now “is the threat environment as evidenced by the attacks in Brussels and Egypt and the fact that American transportation systems remain a high value target for terrorists.”
The TSA response isn’t something that’s going to ever be wrong, so it’s ridiculous to offer it as an excuse. The terrorists will always view American transportation systems as high-value targets, which doesn’t negate the need for TSA to find ways to become more efficient.
Travelers have been complaining about this for years, to no avail. Maybe things will change now that the airlines are publicly expressing their irritation. If TSA is interfering, jeopardizing their standing with customers and shareholders, the financial motivation to find a workable solution to the problem should be enough to finally get something done.
As a veteran air traveler, I naturally want things to be safe, but I am not always sure what many parts of the U.S. airport experience are doing towards that end. I’m pretty sure, however, that keeping large numbers of travelers stuck in security areas for long periods of time does nothing more than make them high-value targets as well.