Federal Spending Cuts Could Hit Air Travelers

The across-the-board spending cuts in Washington, D.C., slated to take effect next month could hit home when you try to leave home.

Unless Congress does something, the automatic cuts take effect March 1, right before spring break. And they could really cut into your vacation plans this year.

The number of flights all across the county could be cut because there would not be as many air traffic controllers on the job each day. All of them face periodic furloughs to make up for the across-the-board spending cuts.

The same thing would happen at security checkpoints because of fewer Transportation Security Administration officers on any given day as some are told to stay home.

Some people in Washington are now warning that could add an hour to security lines.

FareCompare.com's Rick Seaney says travelers need to be prepared.

"You need to keep track. You need to make sure you have good quality information," he said. "Sign up for alerts. ... FlightStats is a good site to sign up for alerts to see if there's any delays."

Seaney also recommends that travelers download the My TSA application if they have a smartphone.

"It'll tell you the wait times, and then be prepared potentially, especially in international arriving flights back, that you might have some delays at border protection and immigration," he said.

But there is a silver lining.

Seaney said he thinks ticket prices could drop if long delays cause fewer people to fly, forcing the airlines to try harder to fill the seats.

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