Landline’s bus service to and from Philadelphia is now considered secure by the TSA. As of this week American Airlines‘ passengers traveling from Atlantic City (ACY) or Allentown/Bethlehem (ABE) will clear security at the out station prior to their ride. When they arrive in Philadelphia the bus will drop them airside, avoiding the need to clear security at the busier hub.
Airside service from ABE and ACY is a glimpse at the future of travel that Landline is creating, in which ground transportation is fully integrated into the travel day. Arriving airside via ground transportation and immediately boarding your flight reduces both time and stress associated with flight connections. We thank TSA and American for their partnership and support in this historic innovation for air travel.– Landline Co-founder and CEO David Sunde
This arrangement is what American and Landline promised when launching the service last summer. But, as with many things airline security related, it took a bit longer to develop than initially planned. With the TSA now allowing the bus to be considered “sterile” while on the road, however, passengers get a bit of a win.
Yes, travelers will potentially arrive a bit earlier at the local airport to handle the security processes. But even if the total travel time does not change too much, stress levels should reduce significantly. Clearing security in a smaller airport with many fewer other travelers should be a much calmer experience.
As for what it takes to keep a bus “secure” while on the highway, Gerardo Spero, TSA’s Federal Security Director for Philadelphia International Airport notes, “We have put in numerous security requirements for the bus
operators and all airline personnel to ensure robust security protocols are followed at all times.”
Landline CEO David Sunde notes that the security process includes sealing the windows and doors on the motorcoach and monitoring its journey from one airport to the other using GPS. Presumably some other details are also involved and not disclosed.
Rides from Lancaster, PA will not operate inside security for American, showing that the process is neither trivial nor managed as a blanket grant.
While American is on board with this program, it is also worth noting that Landline’s partnerships with United Airlines in Colorado and Sun Country in Minnesota will remain outside security. The Airline Reporter notes that the arrangement with the TSA is driven by the contracting airline; at this point neither has pushed the issue.
Landline also continues to tease the idea of adding service to locations that are not airports. United and Landline have done this in Breckenridge, CO on a seasonal basis. Adding more such options could help airlines offer more convenient service for passengers. It is unlikely, however, that the TSA would approve such locations for pre-ride screening (or that it would be cost effective, even if they were approved).
Also, with the rise of metasearch engines (e.g. Google Flights) for travelers, making travelers aware of these alternate services would likely be a challenge. Those websites only show airports or train stations identified by an IATA airport code. A stadium or theme park generally is not going to have that option. United “cheats” for Breckenridge, labeling it as “QKB” for its internal booking engine. That code is not recognized by other services.
Still, delivering easier connections from smaller regional airports by bus, without the congestion and inefficiency of regional jets on very short flights, is a good thing for the industry. And, unlike the eVTOL push, bus service is available today.
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