- The Washington Times - Monday, November 24, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The day before Thanksgiving is usually the busiest air-travel day of the year-and too often the crush of desperate people at airport security lines takes the happiness out of the holiday. This year it is supposed to be better.

The friendly skies will be a little less crowded as the number of air passengers is expected to decline 10 percent according to the Air Transport Association.

And airport security may be a little better. The Transportation Security Administration has pledged to add more screeners to speed the flood of passengers that is choked to a trickle at TSA inspection points. To their credit, the TSA and federal government have been able to stop and thwart at least two known major airplane-based attacks planned over the past seven years. And there are efforts to make traveling and the security process a bit more user-friendly.

President Bush arranged for the Defense Department to open extra military paths for commercial use in the Midwest, West, Southwest and Upper Northeast, which will mean shorter flights for Nov. 25 through Dec.1. That could be a help to our beleaguered economy. Delayed flights cost the American economy $14 billion last year. Special lanes for families with children are now open at security check points in some airports. Extra TSA staff are being added for the holiday season.

New runways are being opened up by the Federal Aviation Administration at Seattle-Tacoma, Dulles Airport, and O’Hare International to help speed up landings so passengers will not fume while planes circle airports.

If all this means a faster journey through our nation’s airports, it is one more thing to be thankful for when it is time to carve the turkey.

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