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3rd time in 2 weeks, 45+ wait in "PREMIUM" security line at Washington Dulles at 5AM

3rd time in 2 weeks, 45+ wait in "PREMIUM" security line at Washington Dulles at 5AM

Old Oct 11, 07, 12:29 pm
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3rd time in 2 weeks, 45+ wait in "PREMIUM" security line at Washington Dulles at 5AM

this is the 3rd time in the last two weeks that I had to wait
45+ minutes in the "PREMIUM" security line at Washington
Dulles(IAD) at 5AM....

My friend dropped me off at 4:50AM and I entered the premium security
line at 4:59AM. By the time I put my shoes back on, it was already
5:46AM. I ran like a madman down that dreaded underground walkway...
just in time to make my flight. guess I'll have to show up at 3:59AM
next time....

if I wasn't holding a first class ticket, it would have been even worse.
the regular line extended all the way to the terminal doors. I estimate
those folks had to wait at least close to 70 minutes. fortunately,
the line didn't extended out the door, as it was freezing cold this morning
at Dulles...

For what it's worth, all of the TSA workers that I saw/encountered were
very courteous and professional. They were working as fast as they
possibly could... but somehow I don't think there's enough of them to
handle the early morning traffic.... perhaps it's time for a new TSA
rule to require everyone to remove all clothing for a speedy security
process?

does anybody know what's going on here?

Last edited by pancakes; Oct 11, 07 at 12:34 pm
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Old Oct 11, 07, 2:20 pm
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I suggest a blistering letter to Congress and to your airline.

TSA does not need more people. It is overstaffed as it is. What needs to happen is that stupid rules (shoe carnival, liquid idiocy, BP/ID checks) should be terminated and so should those responsible for their inception/use.
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Old Oct 11, 07, 3:00 pm
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Originally Posted by Spiff View Post
I suggest a blistering letter to Congress and to your airline.
I'm too lazy to write letters...

can't I just find a senator or congressman at the airport restroom?
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Old Oct 11, 07, 3:28 pm
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Originally Posted by pancakes View Post
They were working as fast as they
possibly could...
I doubt that. From what I've seen recently at other airports the TSA is now taking forever to check IDs, leaving the actual checkpoints relatively uncluttered. Recently I waited 10 minutes for an ID check and then found some screening lanes beyond the ID check to be open but entirely devoid of passengers!
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Old Oct 11, 07, 3:33 pm
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I was at IAD yesterday morning, and it was much worse than usual. While courteous, TSA was taking forever to check IDs. My wait was only saved by the fact that they opened up additional lanes as I was getting into line.

I was only going to NY, and this will be the last time I fly there. Airlines really need to step up here, especially B6, DL, US, and CO, unless they want every business passenger taking Acela in the NE corridor.
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Old Oct 11, 07, 4:02 pm
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It used to be the worst checkpoint time at IAD was around 7:00 am, but that's been an easy time to clear security of late IME.

One problem I've seen is that there is little enforcement of the premium lane. I've seen pax arguing amongst themselves as they approach the checkpoint: "Now, Bill, that line is for premium passengers only!" (they both have big UA "ZONE 4"s on their BPs. Bill says to his companion: "Hey, *I* say you're premium, honey!" No check or sending them to the other line by the BP / ID checker, either!
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Old Oct 11, 07, 4:05 pm
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Originally Posted by 707Flyer View Post
I was at IAD yesterday morning, and it was much worse than usual. While courteous, TSA was taking forever to check IDs. My wait was only saved by the fact that they opened up additional lanes as I was getting into line.

I was only going to NY, and this will be the last time I fly there. Airlines really need to step up here, especially B6, DL, US, and CO, unless they want every business passenger taking Acela in the NE corridor.
Hold onto your receipt from that NY trip. When you take Acela to NY, keep those receipts too.

Photocopy all of them, then send it to the airline and IAD management. Remind them of the airfares (airline) and taxes (airport) that are being lost to the TSA's incompetence.

Capitalism is the only way they will take note.
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Old Oct 11, 07, 4:12 pm
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Why exactly were the lines taking so long? Is the blame on the ID/BP checker, or was it because of understaffing (a problem that existed before the ID/BP checking, I'm sure)?
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Old Oct 11, 07, 4:52 pm
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Originally Posted by Andy1369 View Post
Why exactly were the lines taking so long? Is the blame on the ID/BP checker, or was it because of understaffing (a problem that existed before the ID/BP checking, I'm sure)?
One problem I've found is that when the TSA takes over ID checking, there is a sort of "laziness" factor which sets in. The ID checkers tend to chat with every screener walking by, tend to stop looking at IDs & BPs for lengthy periods to check on other things, etc., and generally "take their time" getting around to their jobs.

(To be honest, I can't recall if the TSA has taken over IDs at IAD yet or not; I think so but wouldn't swear to it despite several recent trips through there.)
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Old Oct 11, 07, 5:00 pm
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Originally Posted by exerda View Post
One problem I've found is that when the TSA takes over ID checking, there is a sort of "laziness" factor which sets in. The ID checkers tend to chat with every screener walking by, tend to stop looking at IDs & BPs for lengthy periods to check on other things, etc., and generally "take their time" getting around to their jobs.

(To be honest, I can't recall if the TSA has taken over IDs at IAD yet or not; I think so but wouldn't swear to it despite several recent trips through there.)
Hmm... well I have always thought TSA was doing the ID checks since 2001. I didn't realize that the ID checkers were actually private contractors until this summer. When I flew from Sacramento during late August knowing of the differences, I noticed Sacramento had the TSA doing the ID checks. It didn't really take that long, but I did notice a bit more scruntity, but honestly I didn't really notice a HUGE drastic difference from the private contractors. I think it took them about 30-40 seconds to check ID and scribble the "approval" on the BP.

I recently went to DCA for fun (yes I know... I like hanging out at the airport! But DCA is like a mall in a way because of all the stores, and it's always refreshing to just sit and watch the planes etc - it helps me with my stress levels) and while I was there I observed the TSA there doing the ID checks. It didn't seem that bad - maybe 30 seconds every person?

However, I don't understand one thing - why do they want TSA doing the checks? What was wrong with the private contractors? Costing the airlines too much $? Is there really a big difference between both? Some private contractors were slow and lazy and talked with passengers too I'm sure- and some TSA'ers are quick and efficient.

Last edited by MrAndy1369; Oct 11, 07 at 5:06 pm
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Old Oct 11, 07, 5:05 pm
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"One problem I've found is that when the TSA takes over ID checking, there is a sort of "laziness" factor which sets in. The ID checkers tend to chat with every screener walking by, tend to stop looking at IDs & BPs for lengthy periods to check on other things, etc., and generally "take their time" getting around to their jobs."

Unless there are screeners standing around and waiting as there are no passengers in the security lineups themselves, then this is not a rate taking step. Essentially, you waited in this line as opposed to waiting longer on an actual security line.
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Old Oct 11, 07, 5:51 pm
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Originally Posted by thegeneral View Post
"One problem I've found is that when the TSA takes over ID checking, there is a sort of "laziness" factor which sets in. The ID checkers tend to chat with every screener walking by, tend to stop looking at IDs & BPs for lengthy periods to check on other things, etc., and generally "take their time" getting around to their jobs."

Unless there are screeners standing around and waiting as there are no passengers in the security lineups themselves, then this is not a rate taking step. Essentially, you waited in this line as opposed to waiting longer on an actual security line.
As xyzzy pointed out, it was the limiting factor in the experience he noted. The other issue is that it appears that TSA is shutting down security lines that would otherwise be open in order to staff the ID check function.
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Old Oct 11, 07, 6:47 pm
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Originally Posted by exerda View Post

One problem I've seen is that there is little enforcement of the premium lane.
I've been wondering about that for a while now... for example, my boarding
pass from this morning doesn't say first class anywhere.... seat number
is 1B(first class on a 757).... That seemed to be good enough for the
ID checker under the yellow sign that says "PREMEIUM" security line...

but I could be flying a small RJ with all coach seats and still get seat 1B...
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Old Oct 11, 07, 7:54 pm
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I have been through this three times in the last two weeks and the problem is that there is one metal detector/x-ray machine for this line (the one on the Delta/NWA side of the terminal. What happens is that the regular line feeds into the area very close to the premium x-ray machine and folks from the plebeian line look to their right and see a short line - NO TSA or other security person to keep them away and it goes to HELL in a hand basket.

Not sure how bad it is on the UA end but usually they controller it better.
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Old Oct 13, 07, 8:46 am
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Originally Posted by thegeneral View Post
"One problem I've found is that when the TSA takes over ID checking, there is a sort of "laziness" factor which sets in. The ID checkers tend to chat with every screener walking by, tend to stop looking at IDs & BPs for lengthy periods to check on other things, etc., and generally "take their time" getting around to their jobs."

Unless there are screeners standing around and waiting as there are no passengers in the security lineups themselves, then this is not a rate taking step. Essentially, you waited in this line as opposed to waiting longer on an actual security line.
I'm not sure what you mean. The ID checks being slow do contribute to slower screening overall; I've witnessed it several times. It's not that there are TSOs standing around at the checkpoints themselves--although that's sometimes the case--but it's also not the case that the checkpoints are backing up to the line feeding into them. Unless the lines are backing up at the WTMD & x-ray, even if there are people in line to use them, slow ID checks do cause a delay.
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