Government Shut down, Staff Shortage and Long Lines – What’s a traveler to do!!
How to keep your cool during the government shutdown is what’s on most travelers minds. Navigating the crowds during this period can feel like a never ending long line. According to CNN last Friday the number of agents calling out sick at the airport increased by 200% to 300%. We can understand TSA agents don’t know when they will get their next paycheck, they are the ones who must find a way to support their families and honor their financial responsibilities during this time. The shutdown is taking a toll on employee morale, causing some workers to call in sick and creating longer lines for travelers, said Hydrick Thomas, a TSA employee and council president of the American Federation of Government Employees, a labor union representing more than 600,000 federal employees.
If you are schedule to fly, there is no way around it the lines are long but your temper can’t be short. Here are tips to get you through the people maze in the best possible way, without feeling too stressed.
Start out with a positive attitude. What do you do to get your attitude in a relaxed and positive mood? Especially when you know an upcoming situation will be taxing, frustrating and just too much? Maybe it is meditation or reading positive confirmation and affirmation quotes or having a chat with someone who knows how to keep you calm. Whatever your technique, now is a good time to pull out your relaxation skills, dust them off and put them to work.
Plan to arrive at the airport at least three hours ahead of your scheduled flight departure. This is especially true for flights departing during the busy time of the day between 8am – 12:30pm.
If you are parking off-site of the airport, add an additional 15 – 20 mins for possible traffic jams around the airport. Airport traffic can be congested on a normal day. At Atlanta Hartsfield – Jackson airport, choose the lower-level drop off. It is easier for check-in and for the person dropping you off they are on their way quickly.
Select Clear as an option for getting through TSA. It does cost, but depending on any airline memberships you may have, the fee could be reduced or waived. And, reports have Clear members getting through an hour faster. Extra bonus – Keep you belt and shoes on and your computer in your bag.
Travel with a carry-on, check-in at the Kiosk and move directly to TSA. Skip the check-in counter which will add an additional 15-30 mins to the time you need to arrive. Long lines at Check-in counters are not uncommon.
Download the TSA app, airport app, airline app and other travel apps such as Trip Case to keep you up-to-date on activities at the airport. Also check TSA and the airport on Twitter and Facebook where updates are posted.
Wear comfortable shoes and clothing. It may be cold outside but warm inside standing in a very long line, dress in layers so you can stay comfortable. Especially true for children and elderly travelers.
Wear socks and be ready to remove your shoes if required.
Mobility limitations? Notify your airline if you have mobility limitations which will make standing and walking slowing as the line moves along may be difficult for some travelers. Order a wheel chair if the standing and the slow pace will be difficult to maneuver.
Be Be ready to make your way through TSA screening. Have your 3-in-1 ready for inspections, take out any electronics which may need to be removed for additional inspection. Take them out and place them in a bin. This can include chargers, recording equipment, earphone, etc. Just think dense and hard to identify. Be ready to keep the line moving.
Take a deep breath. Remember, it’s all about the safety of the traveling public. Once you are cleared through TSA and on your flight, it’s all behind you. So take another deep breath, enjoy your flight and have the vacation of your dreams.
Take a listen to Annita’s segment on the Bill and Joel Morning show. She shares the tips for staying stress free at the airport during the Gov’t shutdown.