How to Navigate Business Travel During the Government Shutdown
Any number of things can affect travel; weather, politics, and security alerts can all lead to delays, canceled flights, and overall travel headaches. The latest event to hit travel is the most recent government shutdown; the longest in history. Airports most impacted thus far include Atlanta Hartsfield, Houston Bush, Miami International, and Washington Dulles. The TSA is still managing wait times, but the absentee rate is increasing as staff members are increasingly are calling out sick because they can no longer afford to work for free. While many airports have contingency plans in place, (e.g. Delta providing their own personnel to assist in TSA screenings) travelers will still experience delays going through security, gates located much farther from the security checkpoints, and closed security checkpoints. As of Tuesday, these delays were still very manageable with the average wait time for almost all travelers at less than 30 minutes and 97.3 percent of passengers waited less than 15 minutes. However, with every day that goes by, this can have a large impact on any traveler, but especially the road warriors. So, what can travelers do to better avoid interruptions?
Adelman regularly updates national and international travel alerts on www.adelmantravel.com that will help you make the right travel decisions. We highly recommend bookmarking this page in order to stay abreast of events that may cause delays or disruption. Travelers can also monitor TSA updates through their Twitter feed @TSA, https://twitter.com/tsa?lang=en. Make sure that you have read the most updated versions of security protocol in regard to liquids and electronics; more information can be found at https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening.
According to TSA, unscheduled absences of TSA agents reached 6.8 percent on January 14 and 6.1 percent on the 15th, significantly higher than what they were on these same days last year. It is usually best practice to get to the airport two hours early or if you have no bags to check, 90 minutes before boarding. For international flights, around 3 hours is standard. With some airports experiencing longer-than-normal wait times due to the absence of TSA agents, you may want to pad your airport arrival by 30 minutes. This is even more crucial in larger, major market airports where the security checkpoints have been reduced. If your travel policy allows, consider checking your bag as this will give you fewer items to organize while going through security. Dress for efficiency with slip-on shoes, limited jewelry, and a jacket with large pockets that can store phone, wallet, keys, etc.
Travelers can get the myTSA app which provides estimates on security wait times at airports around the country. However, travelers should note that the TSA does not guarantee these estimates as the information is based on crowdsourced data provided by other airport users. Travelers can also make use of the Adelman proprietary mobile app, Ava, for any delays or disruptions in travel. Our predictive technology will display how a rating of likely a flight is to be delayed or canceled, allowing for travelers to be proactive and re-book ahead of the line if necessary.