So I’m sure you have all heard about how the wait lines are exceeding 3 hours in some airports because of the TSA. There have been 70,000 missed flights due to long lines and the number is only increasing. Plenty of people are identifying different problems but it really boils down to one issue: They are understaffed but they are not fully to blame.
There is nothing more frustrating than waiting in a two hour line and seeing three security lanes closed off because there is not enough staff. For those of you who have not had to endure this, imagine waiting in line at McDonalds with only one operating cashier when there are four others available but not being used.
The TSA is a government agency. This means they are constricted to a certain budget. The head of the TSA does not make additional money if they cut their staff and still operate. TSA is at fault in a sense for not being able to anticipate the long wait times due to being understaffed. However, Uncle Sam shares equal blame for allocating a pathetic budget. With the price of oil tanking and reduced airfare, it should not have been too difficult to foresee excess travel.
Regulations can either be a hit or miss. Unfortunately, this is one of those situations where tight regulations are more detrimental than beneficial. The TSA can’t just add staff. That isn’t how it works. They have to go through the proper channels and submit a formal request for more screeners (which means more funding) to Congress. So while TSA is taking on fire from all corners, bureaucrats in Washington have messed up their fair share as well and should have allocated a higher budget for the TSA. Now for the solution.
For $1.38 per month, you can be a Global Entry member. The cost is just a onetime fee of $100 (or $1.38 per month for 6 years). If you are an AMEX Platinum cardholder, then it is free. You will be eligible as long as you are not a felon and fill out the application with accurate information. This allows you to skip the entire immigration line when entering the United States and many other select countries that are enrolled in the Global Entry program. More importantly, you are automatically granted TSA Pre Check status. This will dramatically reduce wait times in all major airports. TSA Pre Check often has no line in my experience. Plus, I think it is safe to say that we would all be happier not having to remove our belts, laptops, and shoes in the security line which is an added benefit of TSA Pre Check. Unfortunately, scheduling an appointed for Global Entry is backed up about three months but the wait is certainly worth it.