I took a late-ish flight out Wednesday night .. had to allow time to get back to the airport from the East Bay. Luckily for me, I get to stand in the really short (TSA) security lines at Seattle and San Francisco every time I travel. So the long, long security line waits (2 hrs+ in some), do not really happen to me. Why are the lines so long, since surely there are not that many more travelers from just a year or two ago? There is more than one reason. 1. Back in 2008 when jet fuel was very expensive, airlines started charging for checking bags. They still do – and now more people hold on to their bags (to put in the overhead bin), and that slows down the security check points. 2. Not as many people as the TSA agency had hoped, has signed up for the expedited pre-cleared security lines at airports. 3. Back in 2013, as part of a bipartisan budget deal, 60 cents out of the $5.60 security fee for each flight, now goes into the Treasury instead of paying for screeners and new equipment. (Great, so my part of my travel expenses is used to pay down the national debt, each time I fly). 4. (Comment from Gail Collins writing in the New York Times). ‘The airlines have maximized profits by making travel as miserable as possible. The Boeing Company found a way to cram 14 more seats into its largest twin-engine jetliner by reducing the size of the lavatories. Bloomberg quoted a Boeing official as reporting that “the market reaction has been good — really positive.” We presume the market in question does not involve the actual passengers.