Airport Line Ups Cause Traveler Headaches

If you’ve flown from the Whitehorse airport recently you have probably noticed the long lineups for going through security. Though lineups and security checkpoints have become regular occurrences at airports, the initial waiting at the airport ticket counter, then at security then to board the jet can be tedious.  To beat these line ups the savvy traveler shows up to the airport an hour and a half early, beats the line ups at the ticket counter, and then heads through security again to beat the line ups there. This of course leads to a wait in the boarding lounge which can be wiled away say writing an article like this one. Lately though a new problem has arisen.  CATSA ,the security provider, has started opening security later than previously, this had led to a bottle neck of people from the minute the security doors are opened.  Now even the savvy traveler is stuck being herded like cattle through the security checkpoint and generally leading to more congestion down the line. With often more than one flight leaving the airport, and sometimes up to three flights at a time, the situation has on occasion become unacceptable.

Why doesn’t CATSA open security earlier and have both screeners operating from the get go? To answer this question we first need to ask a different question. What and Who exactly is CATSA?  The CATSA website describes themselves as A crown corporation mandated with ensuring the public’s safety through screening passengers.  Their mandate also includes the words, “in an effective and efficient manner”, this last part in many instances has fallen short of the mark. Like all good police state measures, the creation of CATSA came about as a result of the events on September 11th. As usual the “something must be done” slogan was touted and a legion of bureaucrats and politicians thrust airport screening upon us with all the consideration of a cold shower. The problem with CATSA, like many other organizations in Canadian society, is that it is a government entity, it therefore has no competition, a massive bureaucratic burden associated with it, arbitrary policies, with a lack many times of common sense and by definition a lack of accountability to the “customer”. You read that correctly – you my friend are the paying “customer”.  Also Don’t get me wrong like many failing government agencies, there are many fine and friendly people working as screeners, managers etc.

So what then is a possible solution to this kind of problem?  In my view one very workable solution would be privatization with competition, with airlines even possibly providing their own security. Airlines would provide good and efficient security because they would want to keep their market share of customers and protect their assets, which of course are their aircraft and clientele. They would provide a level of security they felt would suffice their needs and the passenger would still have the choice of which airline they wanted to use,. If they felt that a certain airline provided the level of security they wanted they would use them. If the airline wasn’t up to their standard they would use a different one. Airline’s, of course, could contract out security to a third party and honestly this would be the most likely scenario, but with a twist the security provider would be accountable to the airline and the airline accountable to their paying customers.

This problem is not just a Yukon problem but is a problem in many airports around the world. In Atlanta U.S.A the Airport manger was so fed up with this problem that he told the TSA, the U.S.A. equivalent of  CATSA to either shape up or be replaced. Or as Bloomberg recently released an an article entitled Time to Shorten Airport Lines and get Rid of the TSA. As this problem continues to fester rest assured more articles like the above links and this one will continue.


Article by YFP Editor Micah Hoeschele




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