A Better Flight Plan

Connecting Communities

A4A President and CEO Participates in TSA Summer Travel Kickoff Event

With days ticking down to the Memorial Day holiday, A4A President and CEO Nicholas Calio joined Transportation Security Administration Administrator David Pekoske and Airports Council International CEO Kevin Burke, American Association of Airport Executives CEO Todd Hauptli,  Regional Airline Association CEO Faye Malarkey Black and National Air Carrier Association Vice President of Government Affairs and Security Policy Paul Doell at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport to mark the start of the summer travel season.

Two years ago, the bottom fell out of the U.S. airline industry – passenger volumes and bookings were down 90 percent and airports were virtual ghost towns. But looking at airports across the country today, the differences from two years ago and today is undeniable. Although there was no playbook for the pandemic, the public health crisis provided valuable lessons and reminded all of us that there is no substitute for face-to-face, in-person interaction and time with friends, family and colleagues.

This summer, millions of people will be booking a trip, packing their bags, going through TSA checkpoints and boarding a plane, in some cases for the first time in more than two years. Although business and international travel is still recovering, leisure demand has rebounded to pre-pandemic levels faster than expected – and U.S. airlines are reporting robust bookings for the summer and beyond.

However, for international travel, there remains the additional hurdle of pre-departure testing to re-enter the country. Throughout the pandemic, U.S. airlines have leaned into science to guide decisions, but today, the pre-departure testing requirement is no longer supported by science. With countries across the globe lifting the requirement, ”travelers now face a confusing patchwork of policies as they plan for international travel,” A4A CEO Nick Calio said. More concerningly, this requirement disincentivizes people from traveling to the U.S. It is time to lift this outdated, pandemic-era policy and reinvigorate international travel – a critical step in our nation’s economic recovery that supports millions of jobs in communities across the country. “We want – and need – travelers to choose to fly to the United States,” Calio emphasized.

For those returning to the skies, here are a few basic tips to make the travel experience as seamless and efficient as possible:

  • Use touchless technology: Carriers and airports are investing in technology investments across the travel experience to minimize touchpoints and enhance the travel experience.
  • Download the carrier’s mobile app: The carrier’s mobile app is the best way to stay up to date on your travel arrangements and for them to share any travel-related communications with you.
  • Have a travel plan: Allow for an appropriate amount of time to travel to the airport, TSA security and to the gate.
  • Bring a snack and empty water bottle to fill after the TSA security checkpoint: Be prepared since not all flights have resumed in-flight service yet.

From coast-to-coast, the signs are clear – Americans are ready to book tickets, pack their bags and go and U.S. airlines stand ready to connect the world.

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