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Travel Tip: Expect Longer Delays with the Sequester

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It’s only a matter of time until the sequester affects all of us, and the travel space is no exception.

The FAA has already announced spending cuts of more than $600 million. That includes cutting midnight shifts for air traffic controllers in more than 60 airports, mandatory furloughs, and possibly closing air traffic control towers.

What does this all mean for you? It means a reduction in service and fewer options.

The FAA has already said they estimate delays of up to 90 minutes, but that’s based on the current schedule. The airlines are embarking on sort of an airline triage: They’re keeping those high-profit, high-volume flights. But based on how those delays play out, the airlines may start selectively canceling the low-performing routes.

Three days into the sequester furloughs and, according to Flight Stats, there have been close to 1,000 canceled flights with an additional 5,000 or more delays a day. More than 41 percent of Laguardia’s flights have been delayed.

We can also expect longer delays at security checkpoint lines.

Homeland Security has already said that major airports are seeing delays in customs because of reduced staffing.

To be fair, the airports themselves haven’t yet reported major delays or long lines, but things are changing as we speak, and it’s going to be a bumpy road ahead.

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