4 Tips for Surviving the Shutdown

The effects of the week-long government shutdown are being felt all over the place. Certainly the hundreds of thousands of furloughed employees are feeling it. And travelers are another group who could be feeling it. Here is my advice for business travelers on surviving the shutdown.

  1. Send in your passport or visa paperwork early. If you are traveling internationally and need to renew your passport or get a visa, apply as early as possible. While the shutdown will (hopefully!!!) not last much longer, it’s no telling what kind of backlog we’ll be facing once everything gets back to normal.
  2. Give security a little extra time. Supposedly TSA officers are exempt from the furlough. However, they will not be paid until the shutdown is over. Maybe I’m cynical, but I just expect them to take longer than normal if they’re not getting paid.
  3. Expect delays. While I always check my flight status before I leave the house, I will be doing that even more frequently now. Some FAA staff, including inspectors (yikes!), have been furloughed. Bring plenty of stuff to do, and maybe an extra battery or power pack, in case you have to sit on a plane or in the airport for a while. Also, I highly recommend bringing water and extra snacks.
  4. Be patient. Yes, the shutdown is lame. Yes, delays and long lines are terrible. Unfortunately there is nothing you can do, and getting frustrated and angry will only make your trip worse. So take a deep breath, relax, and maybe do something nice for someone.

This is normally where I would say to check the TSA website or blog for additional information. However, those sites are not currently being managed or updated due to the shutdown. Sigh.

Readers, have you noticed any issues? Any other suggestions for surviving the shutdown?

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  1. Tip 5: Be nice to government employees because they are not getting paid until the shut down is over.

  2. I flew to TX and back this weekend, and luckily had zero issues. TSA in DC were lovely folks who complimented my purse and helped me put my bag on the conveyor belt (not that I needed assistance). I think things have been quiet in terms of travel in DC without the federal workers and contractors traveling. DFW was also fine and speedy. I was prepared for the worst!

  3. Flying out of SFO on Monday, security was fairly unpleasant. I always opt out of the scanner, and as it happened two other people also opted out just before and after me in line. The security folks were obviously overwhelmed by three simultaneous requests for pat-downs, and were very very crabby as a result.

    I haven’t had that experience there before, so I’m blaming the shutdown.

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