The NYT had an interesting column on how we can reduce the length of the security lines at airports. (Start with your shoes.) However, the piece left out one obvious factor lengthening security lines: carry on baggage.

Security lines would move much quicker if more people checked their luggage rather than carry it on board. Of course, there is a good reason that people want to carry their bags on board, most airlines charge them $25 per checked bag. (Southwest is a notable exception, allowing two free checked bags per passenger.) So we have airlines carrying through a policy that is making everyone's life miserable to squeeze a few extra dollars out of their passengers.

We can counter the airlines bad behavior. Suppose that TSA charged a $10 fee for each bag that goes through security. That would give people more incentive to check their bags, thereby reducing the length of the security lines. If that is too radical, we can change an absurdity in current law under which airline tickets are subject to a 7.5 percent tax used to fund airport operations, but fees like those for checking bags are not. If there is a planet where this makes sense, I haven't seen it.

Anyhow, trying to get more people to check their bags is a really simple way to reduce the length of the security lines. Southwest is a highly profitable airline, maybe they could provide some management training to their competitors.

Irrelevant sidebar — here's the reference for my title.