The news media is on overdrive this week reporting on the busy air travel period upon us for the holidays. The Air Transport Association (ATA) is forecasting 24 million people will take to the skies during the 12-day Thanksgiving holiday travel period, with the busiest day in the upcoming week being Sunday, November 28, 2010. This Wednesday, November 24th, comes in as the fourth busiest for the period. More information can be found here.
Statistically, the busiest travel days of the year are found in the summer months, as CBS News reported last year. If you’d like to geek out on more data from 2009, take a look at the summaries from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics found here. Notwithstanding the facts, the upcoming week will still be a headache for many travelers, and I might be flamed by saying this, but I actually feel sorry for the TSA agents. Hear me out.
Whether or not you agree with the changes being made to security screening, the TSA agents you experience at the airports are not the policy makers. They have to enforce the procedures they are hired to carry out, and unfortunately the frontline of any organization gets the brunt of the backlash from the public. John Pistole, the head of the TSA, did make a general appeal to the flying public at Matt Lauer’s prompting this morning on the Today Show. While the main focus of the story was on whether or not the TSA is considering making the screening less invasive, they did remind us to keep it all in perspective. I just have visions of a lot of infrequent travelers this week going to the airport and yelling at the agents, “I am NOT going to be groped like I’ve seen on TV!” I’ll save my opinion about TSA screenings for another post, so for now please remember that TSA agents are people, too.