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Travelers form a long security check line that is extended out of departure lounge at Los Angeles a
Arrive early. Photograph by Irfan Khan — LA Times via Getty Images

Expect Airports to Be Crazy Crowded This Summer

May 18, 2016

If you're going to be flying a lot this summer, get ready for your airport to be a hot, crowded mess.

Trade group Airlines for America is projecting that 231.1 million passengers—that's 2.51 million per day—will fly on U.S. airlines this summer. That is a 4% jump over last summer's record number of passengers.

"We saw airfares fall throughout 2015, and that trend continued in the first three months of 2016," said John Heimlich, the group's vice president and chief economist, in a statement. "As airlines compete for passengers across an increasing portfolio of markets, air travel is becoming increasingly affordable and accessible."

Airlines for America wants the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to respond to the higher number of flyers by making it easier for passengers to get through security. The group wants the government agency to hire more employees—something it was already working on—and to work to get more flyers enrolled in TSA PreCheck, which allows passengers go through security more quickly.

Two U.S. senators have already proposed a fix for long lines: dropping fees on checked baggage. The lawmakers say that passengers using checkpoints near airlines that charge fees have 27% more rolling carry-on bags. Eliminating the fees would encourage more checked baggage, and in turn speed up the screening process. An industry group says it has seen no data to support the claim.

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