June 27, 2008 8:58 a.m. EST
Vittorio Hernandez - AHN News Writer
New York, NY (AHN) - A report by the Travel Industry Association said consumers avoided up to 41 million air trips in 2007 because they were irked by the cumbersome security procedures, flights delays and extra baggage fees. As a result the travel industry in the U.S. lost $26 billion in revenues.
The amount should have been distributed among airlines which lost $9 billion income, hotel $6 billion, restaurants $3 billion and governments at different levels $4 billion in tax revenues.
Such lost income would have been avoided had the Transportation Security Administration launched earlier a new screening system it recently implemented at LaGuardia Airport using color-coded security lines to facilitate check-in and screening procedure.
A line with green circle is exclusively for families with small children and strollers, groups, travelers with special needs and first-time flyers. A blue square line is for passengers familiar with security and check-in procedures and with many luggage pieces.
The black diamond zone is for frequent flyers thoroughly knowledgeable of security procedures such as removal of footwear and light bags.
TSA spokeswoman Lara Uselding explained to Newsday the new system could be compared to a supermarket check out counter.
LaGuardia is not alone in its three-lane system. According to Uselding 25 other U.S. airports have implemented the system and by the end of summer the number would include 40 gateways.
The more orderly system may be what travelers have long been seeking, prompting many Americans who would have taken their vacation to a faraway destination requiring air travel to change their summer plans.