Carry On Luggage Clogs Security Checkpoints

May 17, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The convenience of Travelpro luggage is no longer the only reason why more and more travelers are carrying on their bags.

The fees most airlines charge for checked bags are also contributing to this trend. So much so that security checkpoints are becoming overwhelmed with passengers shepherding their carry-ons through the scanners.

English: TSA Passenger Screening

English: TSA Passenger Screening (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to Christine Negroni’s article in the March 31 issue of the Miami Herald (Huge Hike In Carry-Ons Clogging Airport Security), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) estimated that passengers carried on 59 million more bags in 2010 than in 2009. This “luggage deluge” worries the U.S. Travel Association, which reported that airport screeners cannot keep up and that overall security could be diminished.

Congress may become involved. In a recent hearing, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was asked by Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu whether the airlines should be directed to contribute some of their bag fee revenue (over $6 billion in the past four years) to provide additional security.

As the debate over staffing, equipment and funding continues, Negroni reported that TSA spokesman Greg Soule denied that security was being compromised. “The number of bags brought to the checkpoint may affect passenger wait times,” Soule said, “but not the level of security we provide, which is our priority.”

Checked bags fees have become the airlines largest source of ancillary revenue, and a key contributor to their profitability in this age of $100+ barrel oil. Only two major airlines, JetBlue and Southwest, don’t currently charge for checked bags, a fact they heavily advertise in order to win business.

So how could the government and the airlines work together to alleviate the bottleneck at security checkpoint lines?

According to Negroni , the U.S. Travel Association suggested that the Department of Transportation require airlines to include one checked bag in their base ticket price, and strictly enforce the number and size of bags passengers are allowed to carry on.

The Airline Transport Association quickly dismissed this proposal, saying it “diminishes customer choice and competitive differentiation among carriers.”

The issue likely won’t be resolved soon. In the meantime – whether you’re checking your bag or carrying it on – make sure it’s a Travelpro Rollaboard.

Make Your TSA Screening Go More Smoothly

January 4, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Airport security screenings have been getting a lot of negative publicity lately. This has lead the flying public to look for ways to make the process as painless as possible. Travelpro has several suggestions for doing just that.

First and foremost, be courteous to and cooperate with Transportation Security Administration (TSA) personnel. These professionals are responsible for ensuring that terrorists don’t board a plane armed with items that could be used to destroy it.

Remember, your agent doesn’t enjoy full body scans and enhanced pat-downs any more than you do. These approaches have been proven effective in identifying hidden, lethal materials, and are now required by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and TSA.

Secondly, make sure you’re fully prepared for the security checkpoint process. According to the TSA’s website, certain clothing and accessories can set off metal detectors. Avoid wearing clothing, jewelry or other accessories that contain metal when traveling through the security checkpoints:

  • Heavy jewelry (including pins, necklaces, bracelets, rings, watches, earrings, body piercings, cuff links, lanyards or bolo ties).
  • Clothing with metal buttons, snaps or studs.
  • Metal hair barrettes or other hair decoration.
  • Metal belt buckles.
  • Metal under-wire bras.

Hidden items such as body piercings may result in your being directed to additional screening for a pat-down inspection.

Take metal items such as keys, loose change, mobile phones, pagers, and personal data assistants (PDAs) out of your pockets. Place heavy jewelry and other metal items in your carry-on baggage or in plastic bags until you clear security.

Also, be sure to comply with the TSA’s “3-1-1” rule, which allows travelers to carry-on one quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag containing 3.4 ounce (100 ml) bottles of the gels and liquids.

Finally clear your carry-on bag of excessive clutter. This lets Transportation Security Officers get a clean, X-ray image of its contents.

Enhanced airport security measures are here to stay. Being polite and prepared is the best way to deal with them.

Photo credit: Oddharmonic (Flickr, Creative Commons)

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