I’m not sure Tom Petty was right when he said waiting is the hardest part.
The hardest part is missing your flight and all the – pardon my French – crap that comes with starting your vacation late … possibly very, very late.
Currently, American Airlines has indicated that more than 70,000 customers have missed their flights so far this year. And, that’s just American Air, alone. The cause? If you’ve watched the news at all recently, you know it’s mostly due to the overworked and understaffed Transportation Security Administration. Simple supply and demand – government underfunding of screeners and lots of Americans traveling.
The lines waiting to get through security are up to three hours long. And, these crazy long wait times are resulting in tens of thousands of missed flights. Frustrated and fatigued passengers then have to deal with the fallout: ticket rebooking, overnight accommodations, and many additional expenses for which no one budgets. Starting your vacation with $300 in unanticipated expenses is no fun, and it takes a chunk out of your vaca play money!
SO, the morale here is: GET TO THE AIRPORT IN PLENTY OF TIME to accommodate understaffed TSA security checkpoints. If there’s no way around it (like when your connecting flight takes off without you), you may end up spending the night in a nearby hotel without your suitcase, or even worse, in the airport itself!
Don’t despair. When you toss your AAACK! Pack into your carry-on luggage, you’ll be prepared for any scenario (we don’t call them “AAACK! moments” for nothing)! Make sure your TSA-approved pack includes items like disposable toothbrushes (you’ll want to freshen up in the morning), Emergen-C (to keep your immune system up), ear plugs (they clean the airport at night), sleep mask, Kleenex, and maybe a sleep starter like Benadryl. You’ll be much prepared to tackle your trip issues the next day after a decent night’s sleep.
More good news: Just two days ago, the House passed a bill to speed up airport waits. The situation will slowly right itself, but in the meantime, make sure you’re current on all-things TSA, using the administration’s app MY TSA (for Apple) or MY TSA (for Android).