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Americans Concerned With Air Travel During Government Shutdowns



Even though there are reports that a second government shutdown will be averted due to Congressional negotiators reaching an agreement on some funding for a wall, the United States is not entirely out of the clear just yet.

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A deal must be reached by midnight on Friday or the U.S. may see itself in another shutdown.

With the shutdown still a possibility, NerdWallet conducted a Harris Poll survey that looked at how travelers felt about the previous government shutdown in terms of its effects on air travel, and what they would do if a second shutdown occurred.

NerdWallet found that travelers were very concerned with the security in airports and airplanes during the original shutdown. Nearly nine out of 10 Americans or 86 percent were concerned with how well the TSA was operating during the government shutdown.

This isn’t a surprise as many people in the industry, especially leaders of air travel unions, expressed their own concerns with TSA operations during the shutdown and most recently with talks of another.

The survey also found that 57 percent of Americans believed national security was at a greater risk because of the shutdown’s effects on TSA operations. Baby boomers were the most concerned of those surveyed with 64 percent sharing this belief, followed by Gen X at 55 percent, and half of millennials.

It makes sense then that 45 percent of Americans were concerned that TSA agents were not properly screening bags and passengers as they might have without the stress or setbacks that the government shutdown caused.

During the first government shutdown, Nerdwallet found that 1 in 5 Americans changed their air travel plans in 2019 because of TSA staffing shortages.

In terms of this second possible shutdown, Americans’ concerns have not faded when it comes to traveling by plane.

Nerdwallet’s survey shows that nearly half of Americans (48 percent) who would normally travel by plane, would postpone or cancel their travel plans if TSA understaffing occurs again because of a shutdown. With reports of federal workers having not received their back pay, there would most likely be shortages of federal workers in the air travel industry if a shutdown occurs again.

Who can blame them? With reports of mechanics being pressured to ignore safety risks and the recent memory of what it was like with TSA, FAA and air traffic controller shortages, Americans don’t seem to want to take the risk of flying under another shutdown.

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