Day 25. There are a lot of articles out there about how the government shutdown will (and already is) affect all of us – just google it and you’ll come up with a myriad of articles. For those of us that don’t work for the government or rely on government subsidies the most alarming part of the shutdown, in my opinion, is air travel and food inspection. Let’s chat about air travel during the shutdown.
I’ve now taken four flights during the government shutdown. My main concern has been getting through security at the airports in a timely manner. I didn’t expect many TSA agents to be working and I expected the entire security procedure to be, well, awful. TSA agents get a bad rep in the best of times. I’ve had many trips that have started with grumbling agents, long lines and just general unpleasantness. So I’ve been wonderfully surprised by what I’ve experienced on the trips I’ve taken during the shutdown.
The security lines have been short and efficient and there is a general air of gratitude toward the agents working security without pay. I thank them for working and I hear others doing the same. Travelers are kind to the agents, and the agents are kind and patient in return (imagine that!). This kinder, softer approach sets the tone for the rest of the time spent in the airport – the vibe seems to spread through the airport. You can feel it.
Why aren’t we like this all the time? It’s so easy to get caught up in our own world and our own needs that we take the way things work for granted. What if all the TSA agents stopped working because they aren’t being paid? We wouldn’t be able to fly. The airports would possibly shut down and lay-off all their employees. The airlines would stop flying and would lose money which would probably result in lay-offs which would then affect more people and more industries… I know I’m being dramatic here, but the way of life we take for granted would be gone.
I’ve decided that moving forward, I no longer want to take a working government (even with all it’s problems and division) for granted. I no longer want to take the TSA agents that keep us safe in the air for granted. It’s a wake-up call for all of us.
In the meantime, for those who cannot avoid travel, rest assured the commendable TSA agents working without pay will get you through security efficiently and with a smile.