Travel agents sell the majority of airline tickets in the U.S. and thus have a vested interest in passage of the No-Hassle Flying Act of 2012 - legislation that maximizes the efficiency of baggage screening procedures, said Nina Meyer, ASTA’s president and interim CEO.
“The No-Hassle Flying Act presents a common-sense solution for reducing pressure on the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at a time when the country’s fiscal situation calls for the elimination of any and all wasteful government spending,” Meyer said.
The No-Hassle Flying Act would let the Transportation Security Administration decide whether baggage on flights coming from foreign airports where U.S. Customs and Border Protection has established “preclearance operations” (in Canada, the Caribbean and Ireland) need to be re-screened in the United States before continuing onto another flight.
TSA’s authority to make these decisions would be limited to flights originating from countries that have an agreement with the U.S. requiring security standards and protocols that are determined to be comparable to U.S. security measures, ASTA noted.
Currently, passenger flying from a preclearance airport can connect to a domestic flight without passing through security, but their bags must be rescreened. That means that passengers flying – often on short or late-night layovers – must exit security, claim their bags from baggage claim, recheck them, and go through security again, ASTA said.
ASTA was an active member of a coalition of aviation stakeholders lobbying on behalf of the legislation, including the U.S. Travel Association, Airlines for America, Airports Council International-North America, the American Association of Airport Executives, the Global Business Travel Association and others.
ASTA praised the House of Representatives for its unanimous passage of the bill. The legislation also passed the Senate (also unanimously) and now heads to President Obama for signature.