As a regular air traveler, I can attest to the growing problems at our airports related to the time it takes passengers to pass through security and get to their flights; while I do not expect the national news stories in your publication to identify a problem in individual airports, I have been surprised that no local reporter has identified an issue which is somewhat unique to Myrtle Beach.
TSA has a “Pre Check” Program which enables travelers to submit to an interview and background check, pay a fee, and then be expedited through a second security line at U.S. Airports. As almost 10 million fliers have signed up for this program, it removes a substantial number of passengers from the normal security lines, making the process easier and more secure for all.
However, Spirit Airlines, the largest carrier out of Myrtle Beach, refuses to participate in the TSA Pre Check Program; thus many of the travelers in the lines at our local airport have been approved to participate in the TSA Program, but must clog up the normal line because Spirit appears to have no interest in easing the travel experience of its customers or improving security.
While Spirit provides service to many airports, its impact on TSA lines is greatest in Myrtle Beach, because Spirit carries the most passengers, and, as a small airport, Myrtle Beach has a smaller security infrastructure than most others. Airports like LaGuardia, O'Hare, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and so forth, where Spirit is not the leading carrier, Spirit's negative impact on the security lines is felt much less than here, although it still exists. (Atlantic City, N.J. may suffer from the same problem as Myrtle Beach.)
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It appears that Spirit and Frontier are the only major airlines which do not cooperate with the Homeland Security Department and TSA; why participation in Pre Check is not required is puzzling, as the government seems to regulate everything else these days.
President Reagan once said, when talking about the excesses and philosophy of “Big Government,” something like: “If it moves, tax it; if it keeps moving, regulate it.” In this case, let’s regulate Spirit and Frontier into the 21st century.
Jim Christian, Georgetown