Frequent flyers often prefer to fit everything they need into a carry-on bag instead of checking luggage. With the hassles of air travel constantly on the rise, this simple step means eliminating the wait at the baggage carousel upon arrival, and can often mean cutting to the head of the line when checking in. After all, it doesn't cost anything (except forgoing your checked baggage allowance). Well, not to the passenger, anyway. And not to the airline, either. But it does cost the taxpayers.
According to Janet Napolitano, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, carry-on luggage is costing the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) some $260 million every year. The figure reportedly came up when testifying before Congress last week on a debate over whether to raise the $5 TSA surcharge tacked on to every airline ticket. The question is whether Congress will opt to either raise that surcharge or place further restrictions on hand luggage to decrease its operating costs and make air travel that much more difficult.