Congress Passes No-Hassle Flying Act

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislation that maximizes baggage screening efficiency at U.S. airports, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reported last week.

The legislation, known as the No-Hassle Flying Act of 2012, lets TSA at its discretion waive re-screening of checked bags on connecting domestic flights when they originate from one of 14 international airports where U.S. Customs and Border Protection has established "preclearance operations." Instead of having to pick up their bags upon arrival in the United States, then re-check them for their domestic flight, international travelers from select destinations will therefore be able to check their bag only once, to their final destination.

"TSA has proposed similar provisions to those contained in the 'No-Hassle Flying Act of 2012' and supports the proposed legislation, as it will greatly improve the customer experience and improve efficiency for cross-border travel," TSA said in a statement.

The bill — the Senate version of which was passed in November — now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature.

"Travel agents sell the majority of airline tickets in the U.S. and thus have a vested interest in this legislation's goal of maximizing the efficiency of baggage screening procedures," said Nina Meyer, president and interim CEO of the American Society of Travel Agenets (ASTA). "The No-Hassle Flying Act presents a common-sense solution for reducing pressure on the Transportation Security Administration at a time when the country's fiscal situation calls for the elimination of any and all wasteful government spending."

The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) also applauded the legislation. "GBTA commends Congress for its bipartisan support of legislation to facilitate business travel to the United States," said GBTA Executive Director Michael W. McCormick. "Now business travelers will be able to check bags to their final destination airports, removing one hurdle from the road warrior's busy schedule."

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