Demand for air travel is rebounding – Delta Air Lines just had its best-ever week for new ticket sales, and American and United Airlines aren’t worried about the European crisis or rising oil prices dampening people’s desire to fly.
That means three things: exorbitant prices, overcrowded planes, and long lines at TSA airport security checks.
Some individuals are already trying to beat rising airfares by booking trips months in advance, but you can’t just show up at the airport several months ahead of time in the hopes of avoiding a long wait for a pat-down body search.
Investing in TSA PreCheck for expedited screening is obviously the ideal way to escape the line, but if that isn’t an option for you, expect substantial wait times ranging from 15 minutes to more than half an hour at certain major airports.
Delays are due, at least in part, to a long-standing demand for additional TSA security agents, as well as an alarming increase in the number of weapons being carried through airport checkpoints. The main reason is the ongoing requirement to remove laptop computers and liquids from carry-on bags.
The 3-1-1 liquids rule is still in effect in the United States, more than 15 years after the transatlantic liquid bomb conspiracy. Only 3.4-ounce or smaller containers are permitted in a single 1 quart-sized resealable bag per passenger, according to the rule.
Although the resealable bag can be kept in hand luggage, if any larger liquids are left in the luggage, a secondary search will be conducted. Unsurprisingly, many travelers continue to ignore the 3-1-1 rule or neglect to remove electronics from their baggage, resulting in lengthy delays.
Thankfully, new X-Ray machines are now available that eliminate the need to limit liquids or remove laptops from hand luggage, and they are now in use in a number of nations around the world.
Passengers would be able to speed past security checks without having to remove anything from their luggage. In reality, several of these machines are already in operation in the United States, with many more coming this summer.