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January 8, 2019

 
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The Current U.S. Federal Shutdown May Affect Your Upcoming Travels

 
 
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AIR TRAVELS

If you are planning to travel by air, arrive to the airport well in advance as you may experience delayed security checkpoint lines. Also, check your flight status prior to leaving your home or hotel. 

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are impacted by the shutdown and unable to pay their employees. All 51,000 TSA officers have been told to keep working because they are deemed essential. However, with no prospect of being paid this mid-January if the budget bill isn’t passed, more and more agents have been calling out sick. This has resulted in longer lines at airports’ security checkpoints. 

About 10,000 air traffic controllers are also not being paid. With almost 2,000 controllers being eligible to retire now, according to the FAA, many may decide to stop working if they do not receive a paycheck soon. This may result in a shortage of air traffic controllers across the country which would consequently affect the U.S.’ capacity to manage traffic, leading to flight delays. 

Finally, federal aviation safety inspectors have been furloughed. The FAA announced that the agency has been recalling inspectors for certain priority inspection assignments. Yet, routine oversight of operations at airlines and repair shops is not being done, leaving airline companies to regulate themselves. This means some flights may be delayed or canceled as non-priority aircrafts may wait a while prior to being inspected or for a technical issue to be resolved. 


NATIONAL PARKS AND MUSEUMS

If planning on visiting a national park or museum, call the office or visitor center to find out if it is open and what public services are available during the shutdown.


Parks have been affected unevenly. Some are closed to the public while others remain open with minimum staffing levels and operating thanks to state or charity funds. In those parks, visitors should use caution as access to first aid within parks may be limited. Also, visitors should expect neglected trash pileup and public toilets. 

As for national museums, only a few have remained open thanks to being funded by the 2019 Legislative Branch appropriations bill. These include the Library of Congress, the U.S. Botanic Garden, the Capitol Building and its Visitor Center. The Smithsonian Institute was able to remain open until January 1st thanks to prior-year funding, however, since January 2nd, the Institute has initiated a shutdown of all its facilities. This shutdown affects 20 museums in Washington D.C. and New York City, the National Zoo and the Conservation Biology Institute.  

 
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More Info

For more information, contact Assist America at the number on your membership card, or via e-mail at services@assistamerica.com.

 
For pre-trip information: Assist America members can view pre-trip information on the Assist America website, www.assistamerica.com. Log in using your Assist America reference number. Interested in learning more about Assist America? Please visit us at www.assistamerica.com. Tell a fellow traveler about the newsletter and show them how to subscribe online! Interested in having your organization becoming a member of Assist America? Please e-mail us at sales@assistamerica.com.
The content of this edition of AssistAlert is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace further investigation or personal observations. If you are planning travel, or are traveling in or proximate to the locations identified in this newsletter, you are encouraged to contact SecurAssist for additional information.


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