From the American Airlines Web page:
As a result of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) mandate, beginning November 1, all passengers will be required to have Secure Flight Passenger Data (SFPD) in their reservation at least 72 hours prior to departure. This is the next phase in a program that was initiated by the TSA in 2009.
Um, what if I'm traveling on business (or for a family emergency) and need to fly right now?
This is not a trick question. While I no longer fly on business (and try to avoid flying at all due to the insanity known as the "TSA") the fact of the matter of that when I was flying on business regularly (for nearly two decades) it was absolutely common for me to make my reservations minutes or hours before I headed to the airport!
This was particularly true when I was in the field at one place and had an urgent need to be somewhere else.
Business air travel has basically compacted the nation to the point that you can almost treat an airplane as an in-city bus. Kinda. Before 9/11 it was absolutely common to walk up to a ticket counter, buy a ticket, and walk on the plane 10 minutes later. I did it frequently, and not exactly out of free choice - more like business necessity.
This became much more complicated after 9/11, with most of the "complication" being imposed by the TSA and other "security constraints" that turned the "run for the gate" thing into a "now you must be at the airport at least an hour early or you risk missing the flight due to delays at the security checkpoint" along with other ignobilities such as not being able to carry your toothpaste with you, making the "road warrior" overnight bag now a bad joke that is rather more likely to cause you to miss your flight.
If the TSA has destroyed this then I hope the airlines like the fact that the day of the $1,000+ seat sale (I bought many at that sort of outrageous-inflated "last second" price) is over and done, and they likewise may be over and done.
PS: If the TSA had any brains at all somewhere within it they would handle this quite simply by allowing an immediate and instant bypass for anyone presenting a valid United States passport at the ticket counter, and equip the check-in stations with passport readers. While theoretically a passport is only required for international travel creating an effective requirement for one for "instant travel" inside the US isn't terribly onerous and it is a document considered secure enough for entry into the country - it damn sure ought to be good enough to get on an airplane.
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