Some habits need to be broken

In some parts of the world it’s ‘cool to queue’. But when you are waiting in a lengthy queue at an airport for either a passport to be stamped, a bag to be searched or even for a coffee, however cool you may look on the outside, inside the temperature is probably rising.

At such times we all grudgingly admire the ‘short –cut’ expert; the person who knows their way through the system, spots the new desk opening first or fast-tracks their way through.

This summer will see many major US airports running close to capacity. We’ve already had the first set of TSA hysteria from the public and that’s before the vacation season ramps up. International travel creates processes and like them or not, they are here to stay and with so much travel between North and South America, things may get even worse in the coming years.

With each of the US majors pushing more and more connecting traffic through their hubs, building their respective shares of business and forever tightening their connecting services is becoming increasingly difficult. The ‘elastic band’ of immigration, security, baggage transfer, physical space and connecting passengers is reaching breaking point. This resembles queueing passengers who continue to join the same queue rather than forming a new queue elsewhere.

Radical changes may be necessary to overcome the bottlenecks that exist and brave and hard decisions may need to be taken. Conventional times of travel need to be re-considered, connectivity via alternate points may actually be beneficial for some existing traffic flows, and pre-clearance options re-evaluated.

Changing peoples’ habits is really hard but those changes are generally for good reasons and ultimate benefits can be seen very quickly. Beating the queue, reducing travel-related stress and inconvenience may require some of those habits to change and in OAG’s latest report, ‘America Connects’, we analyse a few of those habits that might just need changing.

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