Homeland Security Asks Airlines to Eliminate Baggage Fees

October 5, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Travel was pretty difficult for some this past summer, as the TSA struggled to clear long lines at the security checkpoints. Travelers faced waits as long as three hours, causing them to miss their flights. The ordeal was eventually sorted, and people were able to get to their destinations as usual.

But this problem could be avoided, said the TSA and a few Washington lawmakers, if the airlines would just get rid of their checked baggage fees.
The TSA Security lines at Denver International Airport
Jeh Johnson, the head of Homeland Security, and TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger asked the nation’s airlines to consider waiving or eliminating baggage fees in order to encourage more people to check bags and alleviate the security process clogged by travelers who only have carry-ons.

Not surprisingly, the airlines said no. They’ve had these fees in place since 2007, and it’s how they have been able to remain profitable. How can you do your part to keep the security line moving? Here are some simple, practical reminders to consider:

  • Apply for TSA PreCheck. Even if you only travel once a year, at $85 for five years’ certification, you’ll eliminate most of the hassle that comes with the regular TSA lines: you won’t have to take off your shoes or jacket, unpack your toiletries, or remove your laptop.
  • Make sure your toiletries are the standard 3.4 ounces and that the bag you carry them in is transparent and accessible, like a kitchen reclosable bag.
  • Wear slip-on shoes so you don’t hold up the line untying shoes or unzipping boots. If you can’t do this, loosen the laces or unzip the zipper so that you can ease your feet out quickly.
  • Remove your belt and light jacket while you’re waiting in line. Note that if you’re 75 or older, you do not have to remove your shoes or jacket.
  • Put your phone, pocket change, watch, and wallet into an easily-accessible pocket in a bag before you get to the actual screening process. This will ensure you don’t set off the alarm and hold up the line by having to be rescreened. Wedding rings do not have to be removed, but you may be asked to remove costume jewelry.
  • Only remove your laptop from your backpack or brief. Smaller electronics like iPads do not need to be put in a bin for separate screening. Better yet, if you have a checkpoint-friendly backpack, you don’t even have to remove it from the bag. Just open it all the way, and place it on the conveyor.

If you have any special situations or items you want to take through security, check the TSA’s FAQ page in order to see what kind of arrangements you may need to make.

How do you get through security quickly? How do you avoid spending so long in line? Share your secrets in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Melissa Gutierrez (Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0)

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