The Transportation Security Administration has a tough job. Since the attacks of 9/11, it has been charged with protecting our airports and harbors from terrorists.
It has done an outstanding job. It seems, though, the airlines are making TSA's jobs tougher. A recent trip drove that point home.
The checked bag fees airlines are now charging have added an incredible number of bags to TSA's workload. There may supposedly be a limit of two carry-ons per person, but luggage manufacturers are now making matched sets where smaller bags attach to the handle of a larger one.
So, as far as the airline is concerned, the traveler may be boarding with just two carry-ons. But at the TSA screening center where all the bags have to be unhooked from each other to be individually screened, those two suddenly can turn into four, five or even six bags.
Needless to say, it slows down the screening process and tries the nerves of people with one or two carry-ons. Unfortunately, TSA officials are the ones who have to deal with the folks with the frayed nerves.
We're not certain what the solution is. As we've said before, it seems obvious that baggage is an intricate part of traveling. The airlines disagree and are making a bundle off of checked bags fees.
But, to be brutally frank, the vast majority of traveling families can't afford those extra fees and so are forced to lug tons of baggage through airports across the country. And irritate their fellow travelers who are tapping their feet in back of them in the TSA lines.
For now, all we can do is salute the TSA for the fine job workers are doing. And thank them for handling the new burden the airlines have placed on their backs.
(Note: A version of this editorial appeared previously in The Maui News)
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.