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Senators pressure airlines to lose money to make up for TSA incompetence AP

Here’s a video of the TSA line at Chicago’s Midway airport on Thursday of this week (warning: it contains some well-deserved coarse language):

That’s beyond ridiculous. And unfortunately, this kind of line is becoming more the exception than the rule. The TSA is brazenly warning passengers that this is the level of service they can expect in summer 2016.

Why is airport security even more terrible than usual? Simple: the TSA wants more money (perhaps after blowing too much on that pointing app?), and it’s going to make life miserable for flyers until Congress buckles and complies with this request.

Though the agency insists it is working to improve wait times, anecdotal reports of checkpoints full of idle agents and closed scanner lines abound:

So two geniuses in the United States Senate have come up with a “solution”: airlines should stop charging to check luggage so people will move through the TSA line faster because they will not have carry-ons.

Seriously, this is their plan:

With the summer travel season looming, two lawmakers have floated an idea for shortening the epic waits at airport security that travelers will love — waive the fees for checked baggage.

This will cut down on the amount of carry-on luggage fliers haul on planes and speed up inspections at the notoriously slow Transportation Security Administration checkpoints, U.S. Senators Edward Markey and Richard Blumenthal wrote in a letter to a dozen major U.S. airlines.

“We call on airlines to take a smart, common sense step to help thwart this growing problem: stop charging checked bag fees during the coming summer months, the busiest travel season of the year,” Massachusetts’s Markey and Connecticut’s Blumenthal wrote. “Without charges for checking their bags, passengers will be far less likely to carry them on, which snarls screening checkpoints and slows the inspection process.”

The senators, both Democrats, came up with the proposal after the TSA chief Peter Neffenger reported last year an “an increase in checkpoint screening of baggage due to fees charged for checked bags.”

Now, I am only human, so of course I would also love to see checked baggage fees go away. And it’s no doubt true that more bags would be checked and lines would move faster if this happened.

But why should airlines have to take the hit for the TSA’s appalling incompetence? Baggage fees suck, but these lines are not the airlines’ fault. If the senators want to improve passengers’ experience in America’s airports, they should address the TSA—which is, after all, something over which they have real control because they are, in fact, elected officials of the federal government and this is a federal agency.

My recommendation: nix the whole damn thing.

Alternatively, we can have the summer of the worst lines ever. Hey, as one Reddit user commented in response to that Chicago Midway video, “It shouldn’t be much of a problem as long as you arrive the standard 24 hours before your flight departs.”

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