One of the most obnoxious parts about traveling is spending hours waiting in line just to have the TSA rummage through all your belongings to confirm you aren’t a terrorist.
Security checkpoints are some of the most inefficient places in the entire airport – and it doesn’t help when the people in front of you don’t remember to take off their shoes or empty their pockets – making you wait even longer.
And with summer travel ramping up, things are about to get even worse – which is why the latest travel program will allow you to book your TSA screening time in advance from the convenience of your phone.
Sounds crazy, right?
Remember, when something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) is piloting a new program called “SEA Spot Saver” that gives travelers the option to select a digital reservation before they hit the TSA security checkpoint to guarantee their spot in line.
Currently, the airport is testing two options.
The first works with Pangiam (a security company) and allows those flying Alaska Airlines to book their security checkpoint appointment 24 hours before their scheduled flight!
Proponents of the program claim it will help deal with the millions of travelers set to fly this summer.
USA Today reported:
“We are confident this pilot program will help reduce queue crowding, enable social distancing and provide a smoother and safer experience for travelers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport,” said Daniel Tanciar, chief innovation officer at Pangiam.
The second option, operated by VHT, is for Delta travelers and all other airlines, allowing travelers to book their appointments once they’re in the terminal.
USA Today continued:
“Virtual queueing showcases our belief in putting customers in control of their experiences,” said Matt DiMaria, CEO of VHT. “While it offers passengers a sense of comfort and stability, it also grants airports the power of predictability and efficiency. It’s truly a win-win for everyone.”
Sure… all of this sounds glorious.
Since I don’t check a bag when I travel, I’d love the luxury to schedule a TSA timeslot from my phone and waltz right through security just in time to board my flight.
But personally, I have no faith the times will actually operate on schedule.
To start, some folks have no idea how to plan ahead…
…especially those who pack bags over the allowable weight limit and are literally emptying out their personal belongings trying to stuff them into other bags to avoid paying an overweight baggage charge.
And I’m sure there will be many “no shows” which will then delay everyone else even longer.
Second, this program only works if the TSA can execute it and manage it well.
It sounds lovely to be able to schedule the exact time one would be forced to be terrorized by the TSA and avoid wasting time standing in line.
But a reservation system is only good if it actually works.
And considering that the TSA has repeatedly failed to flag actual explosives and firearms – which is literally why they exist in the first place – do you really have faith in them to coordinate and manage millions of travelers trying to get through security on a reservation schedule?
Not even for a minute.
But it will be interesting to see if, by some divine miracle, this pilot program actually works.
If so, it could forever change the travel game and make flying a bit less miserable.
In the meantime, I’m not holding my breath!
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