Congress Believes They Know How To Fix Long Lines At Security (Spoiler Alert: They Don’t)

There’s an article I referenced in my round-up piece yesterday morning that I need to expand on a bit.  It really does seem unfathomable that a few Congressmen believe they have the answer to long security lines at airports.

Two Congressmen (from Massachusetts and Connecticut, in case you voted for them) believe that if the airlines just eliminated baggage fees, that would help alleviate those long security lines at the airport:

Massachusetts Democrat Edward Markey and Connecticut Democrat Richard Blumenthal said Tuesday they asked executives at 12 airlines to drop checked-bag fees this summer.

The senators say that suspending the fees wouldn’t eliminate lines but that it’s a start.

A spokeswoman for the nation’s largest airlines called the senators’ proposal a misguided attempt to re-regulate airlines and warned it could make airline travel more expensive — fares would rise to offset the loss of income from fees.

Well, yeah.  And, we could just leave it there.  But, this story seems ripe for a bit more discussion.

One of the most obvious items to point out when folks are trying to solve long lines at security is your airline ticket itself.  Here’s a snapshot of a recent airline ticket I purchased recently:

Long Lines Security

“September 11th Security Fee”.  They even named it something to give it some weight, so we’d remember why the government is charging us $5.60 on every airline ticket we buy.  It would seem to reason that if more people are traveling, the government is collecting more security fees, thus has more money to pay for screeners (note I’m not even commenting on all the other taxes and fees the government charges us when we buy an airline ticket).

So, while the government is conjuring up images of hijackers crashing planes, it seems reasonable that they could actually use that money to build a better security apparatus.

Long Lines Security

If long security lines really are (in part) a byproduct of checked bag fees (as customers would carry more luggage through security to avoid those fees), then it stands to reason this problem doesn’t exist in airports where an airline like Southwest is the dominant carrier, since they don’t charge fees for the first two checked bags per passenger.  The article notes that you’ll find delays in those airports as well.

A very quick spin through the Google found a host of articles referencing security issues at airports like BWI and Chicago-Midway, airports where Southwest has tons of flights.  The presence of long lines at different airports points to the exact opposite of what the congressmen contend.

I wonder if our esteemed members of congress have contemplated the extra demand on baggage screening if everyone were to start checking those bags because the airlines made them all free.  If there’s not enough money to add employees to the security screening checkpoints, would there be enough funds to handle the extra bags that needed to be screened as checked luggage?

Long Lines Security

Government regulation can and has been a good thing at certain times with businesses over the years.  But, it’s not universal.  I’d argue that folks who don’t run corporations for a living are ill-equipped to mandate how business should operate, causing more harm than good even with the best of intentions.  In this case, it seems clear that the positions of these congressmen is at best mis-guided and at worst a serious impediment to actually solving the underlying issue.

In many ways, our aviation security system is broken.  Maybe we should focus on the TSA itself instead of looking for other scapegoats.

The post Congress Believes They Know How To Fix Long Lines At Security (Spoiler Alert: They Don’t) was published first on Pizza in Motion

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