FAA reauthorization bill to improve security, travel experience

By  | 

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) It's no secret, airline travel isn't what it used to be, but a new bill passed by Congress could make travel safer and improve the experience.

The aviation bill that attempts to close gaps in airport security and shorten screening lines. It also extends the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) programs for another 14 months at current funding levels.

“It comes in the wake of a lot of attacks here and around the world," said Sen. John Thune (R-SD).

Thune says the most important parts of the FAA reauthorization calls for increasing personnel and K-9s outside of security perimeters.

“Those all are designed to ensure that those unsecure areas where people are vulnerable, that we are protecting them there," Thune explained.

The bill would also improve the vetting process of all airport workers and employees with access to secure areas.

“Some of the tactics that are being employed by terrorist organizations now, they've become more creative and we have to try and constantly be doing is looking at how we can anticipate where they are going next," Thune said.

One new perk is now if you pay to check your bag and it gets lost, the airline is required to give you a refund after 24 hours.

"The bill makes it easier on fliers," said Erik Hansen with the U.S. Travel Association. "It actually improves the experience. If you're flying with a child under the age of 13, airlines are now required to seat that child adjacent to you during the flight.”

Hansen says while the bill isn't perfect, there are some positives like expanding the TSA pre-check program.

"There really aren't a lot of flyers in the TSA pre check program today one of the reasons is that it is a hassle to enroll," Hansen explained. "This bill will make it easier to get into the TSA pre check program, but it also is making sure TSA is marketing the program so more people can find out about it."

The bill funds FAA programs for another 14 months. It's now waiting for President Obama's signature.

Read the original version of this article at www.graydc.com.