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Old Jul 14, 12, 11:26 am   #1
 
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Ridiculous DCA security lines

I've been flying US for years out of DCA and in all that time I can never remember the general lines at Terminal C for security being more than 5-10 minutes and often just a minute or two. I've flown three times on US in the past month and the first two had 15-20 minute general lines and this past Thursday I waited 30 minutes (the elite line was also a good 15 minute wait from what I could see). Note: I'm a UA 2P, but US no longer grants priority security to *S.

Is this a new normal at DCA. The only thing I could think of as a cause were the additional slots that US now has. If this situation remains so, it may be worth just making the trek to IAD as the DCA benefits start waning if security is going to be a mess.

Last edited by rzsionak; Jul 15, 12 at 7:16 am.
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Old Jul 14, 12, 2:26 pm   #2
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Originally Posted by rzsionak View Post
I've been flying US for years out of DCA and in all that time I can never remember the general lines at Terminal 3 for security being more than 5-10 minutes and often just a minute or two. I've flown three times on US in the past month and the first two had 15-20 minute general lines and this past Thursday I waited 30 minutes (the elite line was also a good 15 minute wait from what I could see). Note: I'm a UA 2P, but US no longer grants priority security to *S.

Is this a new normal at DCA. The only thing I could think of as a cause were the additional slots that US now has. If this situation remains so, it may be worth just making the trek to IAD as the DCA benefits start waning if security is going to be a mess.
Are you sure you were at the right airport? DCA has no Terminal 3 and the security entrance where the vast majority of US flights depart (gates 35+) does not have an elite line -- though it does have a special line for the shuttle.

Last edited by aztimm; Jul 15, 12 at 6:57 am. Reason: edited post since it was moved back standalone
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Old Jul 15, 12, 7:16 am   #3
 
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Are you sure you were at the right airport? DCA has no Terminal 3 and the security entrance where the vast majority of US flights depart (gates 35+) does not have an elite line -- though it does have a special line for the shuttle.
Meant terminal C (not 3). That security entrance has had an elite line for a quite a while, though there was never really any reason to use it and it wasn't well marked before. Now it's been converted to an elite/shuttle/pre-check lane.
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Old Jul 15, 12, 9:54 am   #4
 
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They recently added an elite line within the past several weeks. It is not really enforced or clearly marked though.

I agree, security lines at DCA have gotten very long recently. Of course there is now pre-check to help with this, but US won't send me an invite!!
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Old Jul 15, 12, 7:04 pm   #5
 
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They recently added an elite line within the past several weeks. It is not really enforced or clearly marked though.

I agree, security lines at DCA have gotten very long recently. Of course there is now pre-check to help with this, but US won't send me an invite!!
On Friday the Elite line was clearly marked with a large "Preferred Access" sign. But once I got to the front, the TSA agent wouldn't let me use the pre-check line and sent me to a regular security line. Still saved me a wait that looked at least 20 minutes long.
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Old Jul 16, 12, 10:39 am   #6
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It's TSA. Of course lines are going to be ridiculous as their "security" practices are ridiculous.
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Old Jul 16, 12, 12:02 pm   #7
 
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Given the number in Congress that use DCA, you'd think they'd want to minimize waits there to mask the severity of the wait times elsewhere.
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Old Jul 16, 12, 12:50 pm   #8
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Given the number in Congress that use DCA, you'd think they'd want to minimize waits there to mask the severity of the wait times elsewhere.
I'd rather DCA continue showing them the truth of what the rest of us average folks see and experience. Only if they're inconvenienced will they be inclined to do something about it.
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Old Jul 16, 12, 1:50 pm   #9
 
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I'd rather DCA continue showing them the truth of what the rest of us average folks see and experience. Only if they're inconvenienced will they be inclined to do something about it.
As someone who uses DCA almost weekly for work, and isn't a member of Congress, let's NOT do this!
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Old Jul 16, 12, 1:59 pm   #10
 
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I second that ... fly out of DCA often and the wait times have gotten insane lately. Used to be 5 minutes max, now it's an average of 15-20mins.

Main reason is understaffing ... last few times (B & C) concourses, lovely TSA has only had one ID checker and one belt open. Not due to lack of staff, they were just all standing around shooting the breeze,

And I realize 20mins is not a crazy wait given other airports but at DCA it is. The TSA is such a joke.
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Old Jul 17, 12, 3:01 pm   #11
 
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I noticed the security lines got longer as soon as they added the body scanners to the checkpoints at DCA. Those machines take much longer to process people than metal detectors.
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Old Jul 17, 12, 5:30 pm   #12
 
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I second that ... fly out of DCA often and the wait times have gotten insane lately. Used to be 5 minutes max, now it's an average of 15-20mins.

Main reason is understaffing ... last few times (B & C) concourses, lovely TSA has only had one ID checker and one belt open. Not due to lack of staff, they were just all standing around shooting the breeze,

And I realize 20mins is not a crazy wait given other airports but at DCA it is. The TSA is such a joke.
My experience in April/May was 5 minute lines. In June/July it's been 15-30 regularly. This is with the TSA lines largely open, so it's hard to solely square the blame there, though it's not like they do much to help the situation.

I did notice that at least 10 planes were parked on the tarmac for gate 35A/B which in the past I used to see about 5 planes on average. I'm thinking the extra flights are backing up term C, but would prefer stats to justify.
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Old Jul 17, 12, 7:45 pm   #13
 
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Thank heavens for TSA pre check

Flew DCA last week. The term 3 security now has a TSA pre check line, (no other elite line that I saw). The pre check line was like heaven. No line at all - straight to the agent. Got the three dings from the Boarding Pass scan. Go to the belt and just throw everything on - take nothing out, walk through a good old fashioned magnetometer with shoes, watch and belt on, pick up roll aboard and briefcase and walk to club elevator - sweet! Whole process took about 30 seconds.
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Old Jul 18, 12, 12:42 pm   #14
 
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At DCA now security line backed up close to Brooks Brothers
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Old Jul 19, 12, 7:55 am   #15
 
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Just got though the regular security line in Terminal C - took me 30 minutes! I'm glad that I had read this thread in advance- I haven't flown out of dca in over a month, and had gotten used to the <5 min wait times.
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