Home Investing A government shutdown could really stress out the air travel system — and its passengers

A government shutdown could really stress out the air travel system — and its passengers


— in several ways.

1. Delays in Airport Security Screening: A government shutdown could cause backlogs in airport security screening due to a shortage of TSA staff. Since many TSA agents are considered “essential personnel” and are not affected by a government shutdown, the bottleneck could be caused by the lack of administrative support staff, with a resulting slowdown in screeners, checkpoints, and scanners.

2. Flight Delays and Cancellations: This could lead to delays or cancellations of flights. Airlines are usually not required to reimburse customers for any associated flight delays or cancellations due to a government shutdown, so customers could be stuck with additional costs due to rescheduling or changes in plans.

3. Reduced Air Traffic Control Staff: Air traffic control could be reduced if there is a lack of administrative personnel to monitor and maintain the system. This could cause delays or flight paths that lack the necessary clearances to enter or leave certain areas, leading to further delays or cancellations.

4. Airport Closures: Certain airports and airbases could be closed due to a lack of staff to operate them safely, resulting in delays for flights that are reliant on those locations for their departure or arrival.

5. Refund Struggles: Airline customers could experience difficulty in obtaining refunds for any changes in plans or cancelled flights caused by the government shutdown. Customers could also encounter difficulty in getting assistance from customer service representatives due to reduced staff numbers.

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