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Limit carry-on bags to speed up airport security, travel group urges

November 16, 2011|By Mary Forgione | Los Angeles Times Daily Deal and Travel blogger
  • Passengers, some with carry-on bags, line up at an airport security checkpoint at Los Angeles International Airport.
Passengers, some with carry-on bags, line up at an airport security checkpoint… (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles…)

More passengers toting more carry-on bags clog Transportation Security Administration checkpoints and frustrate air travelers, according to a U.S. Travel Assn. survey released Wednesday.

"The recent trend of most airlines charging separate fees for every checked bag has resulted in airline passengers 'carrying on' substantially more baggage per person," the organization's president and Chief Executive Roger Dow told a Senate committee this month.

"The increased volume of carry-on baggage is causing significant checkpoint congestion, negatively impacting security and causing significant strains on TSA personnel and resources," he said.

And it's bugging travelers too.

The association's October survey of a sample of 604 travelers found passengers were most frustrated by:

--People who bring too many carry-on bags through the checkpoint (72.4%);


--Wait times in clearing security screening (68%);


--Having to remove their shoes, belts, jackets, etc., at the checkpoint (62.3%); and

--Unfriendly TSA agents (42.5%).

Only one pet peeve -- uncomfortable airline seats (70.4%) -- made the top 5 list of complaints.

Despite the grumblings, 66.2% of those surveyed said they were somewhat or very satisfied with TSA's overall performance, though that number sinks to 54.6% among frequent fliers.

In addition to cracking down on carry-on bags, the group also recommends giving travelers more access to the TSA's new PreCheck program, expected to come to Los Angeles International Airport early next year.

This L.A. Times story explains: "PreCheck allows U.S. citizens and members of the federal "Trusted Traveler" program to be questioned by federal officials before domestic flights. If qualified, passengers become eligible for expedited screening at the terminal, TSA officials said."

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