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.

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