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"Why airport lines may be even longer this summer"

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Why airport lines may be even longer this summer 
By Kari Paul

With air travel hitting an all-time high and terrorism concerns complicating 
the airport security process this summer, long lines at airports could cause 
extra headaches for travelers. 

Some 90% of Americans plan to travel this summer, according to a study of 1,300 
people from Airfarewatchdog.com, and of those 84% plan to fly at least part of 
the way to their destination. The travel website found interest in summer 
travel is at an all-time high, up 50% from last year. 

The surge in travel comes as the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) 
announced new procedures at security checkpoints, which will require travelers 
to empty all food and electronics into separate bins to be sent through X-ray 
machines. The new complications could further slow the security process, which 
reached "insane" heights last summer as passengers faced hourslong lines at 
understaffed airports across the U.S. The agency has reportedly since 
restructured, hiring thousands of new staffers. However, J. David Cox, national 
president of the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents 
TSA workers, wrote that the TSA is still understaffed by about 5,000 security 
officers. He warned that under President Donald Trump's government hiring 
freeze, it was unlikely the TSA could get the staffing it needed for summer 

This means now is a better time than ever to invest in TSA PreCheck, said 
Charlie Carroll, senior vice president of MorphoTrust U.S.A., which operates 
the program. At $85 for a five-year membership, the pre-screening allows 
passengers to move through security without removing shoes, belts or light 
jackets. They can also leave liquids and laptops in their carry-on luggage in 
the TSA PreCheck lane. 

"TSA PreCheck is still the best-kept travel secret," Carroll said. "Even during 
the peak of summer travel last year, travelers enrolled in PreCheck waited in 
line for five minutes or less, far below the national average."

TSA said PreCheck passengers won't be affected by the new security measures. 
More than three million people have enrolled in TSA PreCheck since June 2016, 
according to MorphoTrust, which has tripled the number of locations where 
people can enroll in the program. They even launched mobile enrollment RVs at 
events around the country, allowing people to sign up at concerts and on 

"If people aren't coming to PreCheck to sign up, PreCheck is coming to them," 
George Hobica of AirfareWatchdog.com said. 

He argues the push to get more people to sign up for precheck is a positive 
development for the airline industry. "The more people in precheck, the faster 
the lines will be," he said. "We all need to help by being 110% sure there is 
nothing in our pockets when we go through security."
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