The head of Homeland Security has a bit of advice for airlines who want to shorten long waits at airport security: waive fees for checked baggage.
“We’ve asked the airlines to consider possibly eliminating the checked baggage fee to encourage people to check their luggage rather than putting it in the carry on,” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Tuesday evening.
It’s a call echoed by U.S. Senators Edward Markey and Richard Blumenthal who also pitched the idea in a letter last week to a dozen major U.S. airlines.
The airlines’ response? No way.
Instead, the airlines suggest the TSA work to better staff at heavily trafficked airports and encourage more fliers to sign up for PreCheck, a TSA program aimed at expedited screening. American Airlines is now even using its own contractors in TSA lines to help speed things along.
“This is not a bag fee issue. This model of charging customers for services they value and use is not a new phenomenon. It dates back to 2008. Encouraging passengers to check more bags will not help and would actually exacerbate current checked baggage screening issues that are resulting in passengers missing their connections and having their bags delayed,” said Jean Medina, a spokesperson for Airlines for America, an airline industry group.
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