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Long security lines caused 70,000 American Airlines passengers to miss flights


More than 70,000 American Airlines passengers have missed their flights because of long security lines, American senior vice president Kerry Philipovitch told a Congressional committee on Thursday.

“We are working collaboratively with the TSA to develop and implement short, medium, and long-term solutions to the pressing problem of excessive wait times, but more needs to be done, and fast,” Philipovitch said during a hearing Thursday morning held by the House Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Transportation Security.

Over 40,000 checked bags also were delayed by TSA screening, Philipovitch said, inconveniencing customers who did not have their bags on the same flight they were traveling on.

She added that the Fort Worth-based airline is launching an “aggressive campaign” to promote TSA’s Pre-Check program to passengers. For an $85 fee, passengers can enroll in TSA Pre-Check, undergo a background check so the passenger can move through expedited screening lanes at airports for the next five years.

Philipovitch’s comments come one day after TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger told Congress that 768 new screeners would be added to the nation’s airports by mid-June to help shorten the security lines.

Neffenger said the number of carry-on bags that are taken through security lines have increased, putting pressure on screeners, and about four times more bags are brought through checkpoints than are checked at airline ticket counters.

American and other airlines have resisted the idea that there should be a moratorium on bag fees, as suggested by some U.S. senators who say bag fees cause more carry-ons to be moved through security checkpoints, and have said it will not reduce wait times.

“Chicago Midway, for example, is served predominately by one of our competitors that does not charge checked baggage fees, yet airport security wait times have still been in excess of 90 minutes,” Philipovitch said. “There is simply no correlation.”

Andrea Ahles: 817-390-7631, @Sky_Talk