June 26 I arrived at Walla Walla Regional Airport at 5:55 a.m. for the 6:50 flight to Seattle.
As instructed, I immediately checked in and got in line for TSA screening. Even though there were only eight to 10 people ahead of me, it took several minutes to get through screening. I was told by one TSA employee that she had to go through my carry on. All that was in it was paper and books.
My traveling companion arrived a few minutes after 6 a.m., and by then the line for screening was to the clock in the terminal, 20 people or so. By 6:30, the line had barely moved. When the Horizon attendant closed the gate, there were still 20 people who did not get through screening.
We missed the flight, and drove to Pasco while calling Horizon for another flight. On the 9:15 flight from Pasco to Seattle (it only took five minutes to get through screening in Pasco), I sat across the aisle from a UPS pilot based out of Anchorage, living in Walla Walla (who had also missed the flight in Walla Walla). He explained to me this happens often at the Walla Walla Regional Airport. It consistently takes an unreasonable amount of time for screening, and the airlines must keep their schedule.
Another passenger who got left behind in Walla Walla told me at the Pasco terminal she had never seen anything so ridiculous. When she arrived very early for the Walla Walla flight, the line for screening was so long, she thought she would wait until it went down a bit before getting in. The line moved so slowly that it never went down, and she missed the flight as well. She was fortunately able to make it to Pasco and reach her final destination.
It seems incredible 20 passengers could be left behind in Walla Walla, drive to Pasco, get a new flight, go through screening and still be in Seattle as planned. Besides the hassle, however, it cost $325 for a one-way ticket to our destination of LAX.
I would estimate 40 passengers for that flight. Half made it through the TSA screening within the 50 minutes, half did not.
In Pasco they were screening for three flights with one X-ray and three TSA employees.
At LAX for our return, we made it through a line that wrapped around the entire terminal area in 15 minutes along with hundreds of people. What is going on in Walla Walla?
We are struggling to keep these coveted flights in Walla Walla. Can't something be done about TSA screening?