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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

One way to speed up airport security lines

     It is hard not to be concerned about flying this Summer when nightly we hear about the long lines causing people to miss flights. It seems that getting to the airport 2 hours before your flight is not necessarily enough time at some of our busier airports.  For all of us using BWI the problems with the security lines have not been this problematic.  One tip that experienced fliers from BWI know is that there is a second security screening area downstairs from the first floor security area that has far fewer passengers waiting in line.
     Gone are the old days before security screening and you could arrive 30 minutes before you flight.  I remember once getting stuck in traffic getting to the Manchester, New Hampshire airport to catch a Southwest flight (remember when Southwest didn't fly to Boston?) and getting to the airport 10 minutes before my flight.  Dropping off the rental car in the parking area next to the airport and running through the airport I got to my gate just as they were about to close the door.  Today that would have been a missed flight.
    I know that the delays are caused by a few different causes such as too few TSA agents and the enhanced security measures but I have one suggestion to speed up the lines.  Remember when you routinely checked all your luggage?  Then the airlines started charging $25 or $50 to check a piece of luggage and everyone started bringing their luggage on to the plane.  Saving money and not having to wait for luggage became the new norm.  Having to screen luggage through security is what takes up the most time.  If airlines allowed every passenger to check one piece of luggage free and only allowed small personal items to be carried onto planes the long wait times at security check points could be greatly reduced.  I know that won't ever happen because the airlines are profiting too much from those check luggage fees that were originally designed to help the airlines cover the high cost of fuel when the cost was over $4.00 a gallon.  Now that the price has come down greatly the airlines are not going to eliminate that surcharge.  So expect the long lines this Summer.

     Additionally, boarding and de-boarding could be greatly enhanced without everyone having to deal with carry on luggage.  How often do we see someone with a too large piece of luggage holding everyone up by having trouble getting the luggage in the overhead compartment.  Turning around planes quicker could save airlines money to make up for the loss of the luggage charges.

   New security checkpoint connecting Concourse D and E to open later this year.


Josh said...

Wait, where? I've been flying out of BWI forever and there's a downstairs security area? By baggage claim? Please explain more...

duanestclair said...

I learned today that the lower level security checkpoint is closed. A new security checkpoint between Concourse D and Concourse E will open later this year serving both domestic and international customers. I have attached a drawing of the new checkpoint.