This video is the type of thing that a frequent traveler’s nightmares are made of.
Remember when you were a kid and a trip to the airport was something to actually look forward to? Those days are long over. Here in the U.S., most airports have become overcrowded, nightmarish rat nests.
Case in point: This video from Chicago’s Midway Airport. The TSA security line goes on pretty much forever, almost back to Chicago’s CTA train station. Just when you think it’s about to end, the guy walks past another couple hundred people waiting to go through security. This line is literally hell incarnate. Satan might be swimming around in a lake of fire with all his tortured souls, but a security line like this for eternity would almost certainly be worse than any opium dream Dante ever had.
It sucks, but it’s an all-too-real reality of the post-9/11 world we live in. We have to practically undress at the security point, causing massive bottlenecks. Airlines don’t make it any easier with expensive checked bag fees that force practically every passenger on the plane to not check their bag. All those factors result a line-hell worse than any amusement park.
And, sadly, as the world saw at the Brussels Airport earlier this year, all of these added passenger security precautions don’t necessarily make airports any safer.
One Redditor has a theory about this apocalyptic line. Sadly, it’s bullshit government bureaucracy at it’s very worst:
It’s political. The TSA want’s more funding and to hire more employees, so they’re strategically delaying passengers to their breaking points to create an uproar. I flew out of Denver about two weeks ago. On each end of the airport they have 5 body scanners with two lines feeding each (10 total scanners and 20 lines). They had 3 of the 5 scanners and on each end (12 of the 20 total lines) dedicated to pre-check customers which no one was using. These lines were fully staffed with dozens of TSA agents standing around twiddling their thumbs. Meanwhile, they had only 8 of the available 20 lines open to the thousands of regular passengers trying to catch flights. I waited in line for over an hour and then grab a newspaper in the terminal that has an article on the front page saying the TSA is warning passengers to expect long lines this summer due to staff shortages and no funding for overtime. I read this immediately after I just saw probably 50 TSA agents standing around doing nothing.
The sad thing is, this isn’t just a problem at MDW. I’ve waited in 90-minute lines rivaling this at LaGuardia, arguably the country’s most third world airport. I’ve had similar problems at high traffic times at Newark. It sucks. But there’s a not-so-secret Brotip about how to avoid this madness: TSA Pre-check. Almost every major airport in the U.S. has it and it’s only $85 for five years of access, which is basically a giant line short cut. You can also get it with the Global Entry program. The fee is covered in the benefits of a number of elite credit cards, all of which have pretty big annual fees, like the The Platinum Card from American Express.
For more information on how to get TSA Precheck as a way of side-skipping hell, head over to The Points Guy.