It’s going to be a long summer for anyone trying to fly. The TSA’s lines have gotten so long that places like O’Hare Airport in Chicago are telling passengers to get to the airport three hours early. But former US Senator Bob Kerrey has an idea: Ask Disney to fix the TSA.
“I don’t think the government can do this. If you went to Walt Disney and said, ‘Can you reduce the size of the lines?’ Nobody runs lines better than Disney,” Kerrey told CNBC earlier today.
If Disney were to take on the project, one imagines that it might be enticed to use some kind of RFID technology, like what’s deployed in the Walt Disney World parks in Florida. Which is precisely what privacy advocates are afraid of.
Back in 2013, Disney announced the MagicBand—a way for consumers to consolidate tickets, electronic hotel keys, and payment into one device throughout the parks. But some people worried that the bands would create an environment where children saw it as perfectly normal to wear tracking devices.
“Collecting information about how guests use Disney amusement parks could improve the company’s ability to target advertisements at its guests, including children,” Massachusetts Congressman Ed Markey wrote at the time.
“Although kids should have the chance to meet Mickey Mouse, this memorable meeting should not be manipulated through surreptitious use of a child’s personal information,” he continued.
Bob Iger, the CEO of Disney, responded harshly, claiming that he was personally “offended by the ludicrous and utterly ill-informed assertion[s]” being made by Markey.
“Disney does not use personal information to market to children under age 13, does not personalize or target advertisements to an individual child, and never shares children’s personal information with any third party for their marketing purposes,” Iger wrote in an open letter to Markey. “Additionally, parents have full control over their child’s participation in MyMagic+.”
Disney does know how to manage lines really well, but the company can handle crowds precisely because it has a large number of attractions. The control center that’s staffed underneath Walt Disney World in Florida is constantly monitoring the traffic flow in the park and diverting people by physically obstructing where they can walk—sometimes with impromptu parades.
Obviously nobody is getting in line at the airport expecting an entertaining experience and everybody is more or less trying to get to the same place: their particular gate. It’s unclear how the private sector could actually fix any of these problems aside from throwing more money at it and opening more lines.
Or maybe O’Hare should install some rides. Once you’ve missed your flight after standing in line for three hours at least you could ride the Haunted Mansion. Just a thought.