Could not making people pay to check bags help shorten long airport lines?


As the busy summer travel season nears, suggestions for how to make long airport security lines move faster are pouring in.

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is one of the airports that's been plagued by long lines, and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says it knows about the problem, and is trying to help.

The agency blames the sometimes hourlong wait times on more travelers compared to last year, a statement to BringMeTheNews says. TSA says it is addressing delays by adding more canines, increasing overtime pay, and accelerating the hiring of screeners.

But politicians, airlines and others have more ideas about how to make lines move faster. Here's a look at some of them:

Get there early, and tweet about it

Earlier this month, Airlines for America (an group that represents a lot of large airlines) launched a website and is encouraging travelers to post photos of long checkpoint lines using the hashtag #Ihatethewait and tag @TSA.

The group says this will help TSA "pinpoint trouble spots" and give other travelers a heads-up about how long the lines are.

Airlines for America and TSA continue to urge travelers to get to the airport at least two hours before their flight just in case there are long lines.

Drop the fee for checked bags

Two Democratic U.S. senators (Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, and Ed Markey from Massachusetts), sent a letter Tuesday to the 12 major U.S. airlines asking them to drop the checked-bag fee for the summer, a news release says. They argued a fee for checking bags means a lot more people will bring a carry-on – and that "significantly slows screening " since it has to get through security.

In a statement to BringMeTheNews, TSA said it wouldn't comment on the senators' suggestion, but did say passenger numbers are up 7 percent over last year, and "it's fair to say their carry-on bags impact us as much as the increase in passengers."

Jean Medina, a spokesperson for Airlines for America, called the proposal a "misguided attempt to regulate airlines" and said it would make travel more expensive, The Associated Press reports.

Hire more people

Airlines for America, along with members of Minnesota's Congressional District and others, have been pushing TSA to add more staffing, and for Congress to increase funding so the agency can do so.

U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan (who represents northeast Minnesota) says a House subcommittee has approved giving TSA an additional $34 million to hire roughly 800 more security screeners, a news release says. If it gets approved by Congress, this will mean a "significant increase" in the number of agents at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and elsewhere, Nolan adds.

The White House has also urged Congress to pass this measure, USA Today reports.

Let TSA borrow airline workers

Delta, which is one of the major carriers at MSP Airport, released a statement Wednesday saying it is loaning some of its workers to TSA to help alleviate some of the long lines.

Doing so will help free up TSA screeners so they can open more checkpoints and get people moving through security faster, the airline says. American Airlines has also said it will use some of its employees to help at TSA, the Associated Press says.

Delta said it will have its engineers look at how security checkpoints could be redesigned to help lines flow better, as well as provide complimentary enrollment to Diamond Medallions.

Sign up (aka pay for) for TSA PreCheck

TSA officials have been saying for weeks that signing up for TSA PreCheck will help people skip the long security lines.

The program lets approved travelers move through the line faster – and they don't have to remove their shoes, belts, jackets or laptops.

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