Ms. Hughes tested the policy revision herself recently. Asked to remove her jacket, she told the agent it was her “outermost garment.” The agent responded, “You mean you’re not wearing a blouse?” Ms. Hughes recalls. When she said no, the agent let her walk through. “Here’s to reclaiming the friendly skies,” Ms. Hughes says.
Middle-Seat Wish List
The skies could be friendlier. Here are 10 improvements we’d like to see in air travel:
- REAL-TIME WAIT TIME at TSA checkpoints.
- The Transportation Security Administration keeps track of how long it takes to get through its screening lines.
- Let’s post the data on the TSA’s Web site the way the Federal Aviation Administration makes real-time information available about airport delays.
- If you know the lines are long, you can leave early.
- BETTER MANAGEMENT of security lines.
- Airlines know how many passengers are coming.
- Why isn’t TSA staffing better aligned with flight schedules and passenger bookings?
- What’s more, maybe travelers should be assigned screening times at busy periods, especially in the morning.
- If your flight doesn’t leave until 9 a.m. but you’re in line at 7 a.m., you might make someone miss a 7:30 a.m. flight.
- A PRIORITY-LANE list from airlines.
- Some airports have special lanes for elite-level frequent fliers, and some don’t.
- Why don’t airlines tell us where they are, and where they aren’t?
- BAGGAGE TRACKING.
- FedEx can keep track of your package, but an airline typically has no idea where your bag is when it gets lost.
- Airlines need to move faster on this.
- The technology is getting cheap.
- BLOCK THE MIDDLE SEAT next to elite-level customers, if possible.
- United and some others do this; all airlines should.
- BULKHEAD BAGGAGE STORING.
- United has cutouts in its cabin dividers so that people sitting in bulkhead seats can store bags on the floor in front of them.
- Why haven’t others done this? It’s handy.
- AIR-TRAFFIC CONTROL AUDIO.
- United Airlines lets you listen in to communications between air controllers and your plane.
- It’s an interesting way to ease boredom and keep track of your flight’s progress — even if you aren’t a pilot and don’t know all the lingo.
- Other airlines should offer it as well.
- IMPROVE GATE DISPLAYS.
- Delta now has displays that show your rank on the standby list or the list for first-class upgrades.
- Quite handy.
- AIRPORT POWER PORTS.
- Our lives run longer on batteries than they used to, but sometimes batteries alone aren’t enough.
- Airport terminals need more power plugs for passengers.
- It seems airlines hide them as much as possible, perhaps to force power users into their airport clubs.
- SIMPLIFIED AIRLINE PRICING.
- Hey, we can dream.
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