Sequestration, how will it effect air travel?

Old Feb 15, 13, 8:13 am
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Sequestration, how will it effect air travel?

NPR had a bit this morning about slower processing times in security at airports if it happens but a report from one of the other times we were at the edge of the "cliff" diifers, as usual Pistole is upbeat:

In a press conference in Washington, DC, on Nov. 13, TSA Administrator John Pistole told reporters that TSA would cut funding from areas other than frontline operations.

"We have made a number of plans in the event that sequestration does go into effect. The bottom line is for the entire Department of Homeland Security, and TSA obviously included, is to make sure that the frontline operations are not affected by that. Other areas would be reduced however we need to meet those numbers in sequestration," Pistole said.

"The bottom line is to keep the frontline operations in full force and to keep the movement of people and goods going smoothly," he added.

On Sept. 14, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) projected TSA and CBP both would be hit hard by sequestration, which cuts non-exempt non-defense mandatory programs by 7.6 percent.

TSA would experience one of the biggest cuts of $1.27 billion overall under the sequestration plan. The Federal Air Marshal Service would be cut 8.2 percent by $79 million.
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Old Apr 20, 13, 10:38 pm
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In fact, some articles and some members' experiences have indicated little effect on TSA airport security, but significant reductions of overtime with USCBP resulting in longer queues at some airports. USA Today reported delays at LAX, for example, even following some passengers being held on arriving aircraft for as long as an hour prior to being allowed to disembark. Link .

Prior to that, USCBP had stated they would institute some mitigation measures.

Unless hings change for the better, summer could be a bit tougher for USCBP and possibly TSA lines / queues.
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Old Apr 21, 13, 12:40 am
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Looks like ATC furloughs will actually begin on April 21.
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Old Apr 21, 13, 6:32 pm
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At ORD on Thursday evening, it took two and a half hours to clear customs. There were only about four of the 15 or so lanes open. I missed the connection and the last flight was canceled. I have global entry but my companion did not
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Old Apr 22, 13, 12:09 am
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Originally Posted by Lurch View Post
At ORD on Thursday evening, it took two and a half hours to clear customs. There were only about four of the 15 or so lanes open. I missed the connection and the last flight was canceled. I have global entry but my companion did not
I hope your companion is hot or you should be posting that your companion missed last flight

I heard some mid-day USA radio reports (ABC IIRC) noting random stories of delays at Chicago and NYC they tried to pin on the cuts. Nothing solid reported though.
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Old Apr 22, 13, 8:04 am
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Originally Posted by FlyingHoustonian View Post
I hope your companion is hot or you should be posting that your companion missed last flight

I heard some mid-day USA radio reports (ABC IIRC) noting random stories of delays at Chicago and NYC they tried to pin on the cuts. Nothing solid reported though.
Last week, Chicago was hit with some crazy storms and there is massive flooding all around the region. I wouldn't be surprised if Lurch's flight was cancelled due to weather.

As for today, one of the top stories on the local news over the weekend in the Chicago area was about FAA air traffic controller furloughs and how it may result in delays up to 2 hours at ORD. This, I suspect, is the link to the radio reports you heard.
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Old Apr 22, 13, 9:26 am
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I found this article, author believes the ATC delays are being faked.

New York sees delays due to ATC cuts, but are they fake?

It uses an example of a slower period at the airport.
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Old Apr 26, 13, 4:35 am
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Originally Posted by CDKing View Post
I found this article, author believes the ATC delays are being faked.

New York sees delays due to ATC cuts, but are they fake?

It uses an example of a slower period at the airport.
As I understand it, the cuts for ATC did not have to happen. The delays, IMO are not "fake" as reduced staffing required an ATC slowdown for safety reasons. We all want safe flights.

That said, it's safe to say strings were pulled in a way (forced staffing reductions) which would induce the delays for potential political gain. Sadly, this is all about politics and budgets at the end of the day and we the people, along with the airlines, are being forced to endure delays and cancellations which really aren't necessary. This is an administration manufactured crisis, IMO.

My opinion was formed based on DC sources I've spoken to, which have indicated ATC in particular did not have to be cut. This has come from individuals on both sides, including former Clinton administration officials I've spoken to.

While a lot of "noise and signals" were sent indicating these cuts would happen, there was a consensus among many the administration would never go this far -- that is plastering the FAA all over the news by taking an ATC furlough action. Our economy isn't the best and these actions are hurting businesses which rely on timely air transportation.

ATC is a function of the FAA which falls under the DOT, which is part of the executive branch. In fact, I initially took the stance that the sequester would not impact air travel and was proven wrong. Airline Industry trade groups, individual airlines, and even reputable DC insiders took the same stance, which formed the basis of my opinion .. and we were all wrong when the cuts actually did happen.

Lower ATC staffing levels reduce the number of flights which can safely be handled and thus planes are delayed and the delays snowball through-out the day. High aircraft utilization makes it difficult to play catch up, short of cancelling some flights.

Back to the economy -- not only do travelers have to get from point A to point B, preferably on-time, but so does time sensitive cargo. US Mail and time-sensitive cargo are transported on commercial aircraft in the belly. In addition to passenger flights, there's also cargo flights and the likes of UPS and FedEx. Overnight services are critical with UPS and FedEx, but during the day their aircraft are used to haul 2nd and 3-day delivery packages. FedEx aircraft also transports most USPS Express Mail (next day) along with Priority Mail.

Fortunately, it looks like this ATC mess might end sooner than later by an act of congress. A bill is in front of congress: Glimpse of Hope ATC Furlough May End which would re-allocate funds to bring the ATC delays to an end.

With respect to impact, I've been on the road (in the air) the past week and I can say first hand the ATC furloughs are hitting many airports hard.

When it comes to the TSA, I believe their reputation is bad enough that they'll "try" to avoid excessive backups through other cuts but I'm now at the point where nothing will surprise me. I've passed through many airports in the past week and have not encountered any TSA queues out of the ordinary.

SDF
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