TSA Update: Good News for Your Weekend!

The waits are getting shorter.
If you read last week’s blog about TSA, you may have dreaded traveling for Memorial Day weekend. According to the latest news, you should stop hating the wait. Experts say that the relief came as a huge surprise to travelers, weary of reading news of the long lines and hearing industry pros’ blunt admonitions to avoid air travel.

Here’s what actually happened: Passengers were, on average, only waiting for about ten minutes, even though the AAA predicted the busiest travel seasons since 2005. Is TSA getting their act together? Are fewer travelers flying because of the scare? What gives? Maybe we shouldn’t question a good thing too much, but here are a few suggestions of what caused the complete 180.

1. More people used PreCheck:
According to studies, those who used the PreCheck system benefited from wait times as brief as a few minutes. So, why aren’t more customers using the innovative system? You probably guessed it right: At $85, the price is just a little too high for most American travelers. Check your credit card benefit statement: A few cards offer PreCheck reimbursement as a valuable cardholder perk, which saves money and time.

2. More staffing, fewer problems
“Things have been going pretty well so far this weekend and we are working hard to make sure that we have no repeat of what we saw in Chicago,” said American Airlines spokesman Ross Feinstein, referring to Chicago O’Hare International Airport, which suffered some of the worst lines last week.

In order to meet demands, TSA Administrator Peter V. Neffenger changed employee status from part-time to full-time for nearly 200 employees and employed 58 new security staff for Chicago’s bustling airport. Thank you to all the new hires and hard workers helping travelers reach their destination much faster!

3. Bad news spreads quickly:
Neither TSA nor the airlines liked the way the media sources were badmouthing them, so they did everything they could to prevent it from happening again. The industry put a little fire under them to maximize efficiency in a hurry. Two words: Niiicce save!

4. More checkpoint dogs:
TSA reports more dogs at the checkpoint stations helping direct traffic. Over 230 dogs get specific training to sniff out bombs every year, and TSA made sure they went to work last weekend. According to the New York Times, the dogs serve as the first line of defense and the best-known method for finding explosives. TSA management plans to “drastically increase” their canine service team over the summer months.

Bottom line? Don’t give up on your summer travel plans quite yet! Reese McCranie, spokesman for the Atlanta airport says, “Memorial Day is really a dress rehearsal for the rest of the summer. We’re hopeful that we’re working toward a similar experience for all other major travel periods.”

We’re hopeful too.

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