Are airline bag fees worsening security lines?

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SECONDARY PHOTO - May 16, 2016 Atlanta: Security screening lines up to an hour long or more snaked through the terminal and around baggage claim carousels at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport early Monday morning, May 16, 2016. Lines for Transportation Security Administration checkpoints have been particularly long for more than a week amid the closure of the Terminal South checkpoint for a redesign of two security lanes aimed at speeding screening. The checkpoint is expected to reopen May 24. In the domestic terminal, the Main checkpoint and Terminal North checkpoint are now handling the huge volumes of passengers that come to the airport. Monday mornings are often the busiest time of the week. JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM
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Security screening lines, May 16, 2016. JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM

As airport and government officials search for a fix for the long airport security lines plaguing airports in Atlanta and other U.S. cities, one possible culprit has come into focus: Baggage fees.

Some say fees for checked bags prompt travelers to carry on more bags, all of which have to be screened at security checkpoints as passengers head to their gates.

Two U.S. senators have proposed that airlines stop charging baggage fees this summer. But airlines are loathe to lose the hundreds of millions in revenue they collect from baggage fees.

Now, Hartsfield-Jackson is considering — but has not committed to — another possibility: a “one-bag only” express lane, with the idea that those travelers “have the potential to get through the process quicker,” airport general manager Miguel Southwell said.

Read more on about the push for airlines to stop charging bag fees to help shorten lines, why Delta says it thinks that won’t help, and how a one-bag only lane worked at another U.S. airport.

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