In my experience during the past week, airports have been running surprisingly smoothly. The passenger load is way down —— probably because some people have canceled flights, but more importantly because kids seem to be starting school earlier each year, so summer vacation—time now ends in mid—August rather than on Labor Day. With the new requirement to check in carry—on luggage, moving through security is faster than ever —— and so is boarding of planes, since passengers aren't lugging suitcases and fighting among themselves for space in the overhead bins. The hang—up, of course, is that now we Road Warriors —— who rarely checked in luggage —— now must wait for our luggage along with everyone else at the baggage—claim belts.
This past week, at both the San Diego airport and at Sea—Tac International airport, in Seattle, it took 30 minutes for the luggage to start arriving. This isn't great —— but it isn't awful. If the airlines can chop 10 minutes off the wait—time —— and this shouldn't be an impossible goal to reach —— the requirement to check in carry—ons won't be bad at all simply because it makes going through security and boarding planes so much easier.
The quality of TSA personnel seems to vary widely from airport to airport —— in my experience, the TSA personnel at Denver are the least polite and the least efficient —— but this past week in San Diego and Seattle the TSA personnel were exceptionally courteous, and they kept the lines moving through just as swiftly as possible.
Herb Meyer 8 18 06