A record 257.4 million passengers will clog up the lines at the nation’s airports between June 1 and August 31, at a time that Boeing’s 737 Max airliners are grounded and the Transportation Security Administrator is reassigning some agents to the southern border.
KTRH aviation analyst Jay Ratliff says the impact of Southwest, American and United Airlines grounding some of their planes won’t be so bad. “It’s not going to have the impact headlines around the country suggest.” The planes were taken out of commission in March, and Ratliff says the summer travel season is their annual nest egg, so they’ve been getting ready for months, “because they’re going to do everything they can to keep those silver revenue tubes running and up in the air,” he says.
And Ratliff doesn’t think the loss of TSA agents will prove too much of a problem either. “We’re talking a few hundred and a lot of those are office personnel.”
But in terms of the sheer volume of people trying to get from Point A to Point B this summer, it will be busier than it’s ever been. “Because we’re going to see a record number of travelers the thing is to get to the airport at least two hours before departure.” Your best bet, he says, is to become a member of TSA Pre-Check. “If you’re one of the individuals who have jumped into the TSA pre-check, hats off to you because this is going to be a summer travel season where you’re going to enjoy those shorter lanes. If you’re not a member of TSA pre-check, it’s $85 for five years.” He says you’ll come out ahead in the long run.
You can get details on TSA Pre-Check here.