Obama, squeaking by, will change travel


Well, it does look as if Barack Obama will squeak by and land in the White House...and when he does, airlines will see some changes. Ya know, more labor-friendly, and so on. The pilots know this because some of them have already sent a note to the president-elect saying that they really like him. But Left Field thinks that the place you'll see some real changes is at the airport and in fact at passport and customs lanes. And you'll see some changes in the way the US of A promotes itself abroad.
Obama, unlike his rival, Arizona Senator John McCain, strongly supported federal funding of travel promotion and told the US Conference of Mayors he supported the initiative. He has also spoken in favor of expanding the Visa Waiver program, which lets citizens of certain more developed countries enter the US without a formal visa. The program, which does require registration, applies in general to nations that give reciprocity to US citizens visiting there; it limits visits to 90 days. Although some visitors feel that the registration for the program is annoying if not onerous, it's better than nothing.

Another change at the airports: because Obama was elected with strong labor union support, we'll see a move to organize the union-less: Transportation Security Administration workers at airports. In fact, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) said within hours of Obama's declaration of victory that it had relaunched its effort to enlist the TSA screeners and checkers. The largest federal employee union, AFGE has begun working with members of Congress to rewrite the Homeland Security department's basic authorizing language to remove limits on unionization of TSA. Obama told the union in October that he supported their efforts.


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