mid the concern about security delays
at airports, little attention has been paid to the possibility that
passengers bound for cruise ports may be in jeopardy of missing the
Barbara Arendt, a cruise specialist with Cruise Planners of
Lincoln, Neb., worries that the new federal rules requiring
matching of luggage and passengers beginning tomorrow could leave
cruise customers standing at the dock.
She wonders why cruise lines don't push back their scheduled
departures, normally about 5 p.m., to an hour that takes the
airline security delays into account.
Arendt notes that sophisticated scanning machines are available
mainly in larger airports. She says "the check-in procedures will
slow down flights more so in smaller airports...which means our
passengers will be coming late out of Podunk Regional Airport and
most likely will miss their connections through the larger hubs of
Atlanta, Chicago or St. Louis."
Arendt says there is good news these days in that more people
are flying but she worries that heightened security might
discourage the traveling public.
"At least we're getting butts back in the seats and berths but
how will this new act affect the mindset of the traveling public?"
"I hope for all of us it will be repealed until all the airports
can come up to speed to enact it. Otherwise, it's going to be
another challenge to our industry, one that we do not need at this
It's unlikely that the government will backtrack on airline
security but Arendt's point about airport delays is worth
We may muddle through the next few months with tighter security
because these are relatively slow periods for air travel. But what
will happen as we move toward the peak vacation season?
The public wants heavier security and is prepared to cope with
longer delays than it experienced before Sept. 11.
But there is a point where the hassle of air travel becomes a
deterrent for a segment of the public that has other recourses.
The government and the airlines are walking a thin line between
ensuring public safety and creating a logjam that will discourage
people from traveling.