The airport security line doesn't stretch from coast to coast; it just feels that way. On what is traditionally the fourth busiest travel day of the year, air passengers packed into the nation's airports on Friday—part of the nearly 2.6 million Americans who are expected to fly this weekend.
"To say customers are agitated is putting it mildly," American Airlines Senior Vice President Kerry Philipovitch told a congressional subcommittee May 26.
Among the many debating points, critics are pointing to millions of dollars diverted from the Transportation Security Administration. The New York Times reports
$5.60 is assessed on each segment of a plane trip, but Congress decided to allocate 60 cents from each trip assessment away from TSA to pay down the national debt. The president of the union that represents TSA screeners said that money could have restored as many as 6,000 screeners to the TSA front lines.
At the Boise Airport, Director Rebecca Hupp is keeping a close watch on the TSA drama.
"I hope what we're seeing is not the new normal. I think there were several things that brought us to where we are today: The inspector general's report on TSA's pass/fail rate triggered additional screening," said Hupp. "Then, TSA had to deal with budget cuts. Couple all of that with a new higher demand for travel, and were talking about pre-recession levels. ... That's all contributing to the longer lines at other airports."
In this week's edition of Boise Weekly,
we examine the summer travel season, including indications that Idaho could see a record-setting number of travelers this year. And that will include a new destination. This coming week, American Airlines will begin a daily direct roundtrip service between Boise and Dallas/Fort Worth.
"It's a very big deal," said Hupp. "When you take a map of the U.S. and look at Boise, we have nonstop service to nearly every major hub in the Midwest and across the West. American [Airlines] is one of the largest carriers in the nation, and this links us to cities across the world—and especially to Latin and South America."