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Thursday morning, United CEO Oscar Munoz traveled to Los Angeles to show off the airline’s latest Polaris Lounge, which opens its doors to flyers this Saturday.
But while Munoz was happy to chat about the amenities and this week’s 787-10 Dreamliner launch, there was clearly something else on his mind: the federal government shutdown.
Given Munoz’s concern, I asked him to explain how the shutdown is impacting the travel industry. We stopped to chat as we toured the airline’s latest wide-body plane — which, fortunately for United, narrowly escaped landing a spot in FAA limbo:
Soon entering its 20th day, the shutdown has begun to impact countless agencies, including many that are absolutely crucial to our nation’s ability to safely carry out commercial airline operations.
TSA agents are among the hardest hit, considering many may live paycheck to paycheck. But there’s more to it than that — as Munoz explains:
“It’s tough to work without a paycheck, and I can’t urge our elected officials more that they get back together and make something happen for us. While it’s impacting our company to some degree, more importantly our customers, it’s also impacting others in the industry beyond TSA – you’ve got CBP, you’ve got FAA, you’ve got certification of aircraft across the industry. And of course, there’s people beyond our industry that are also going to be affected.”
Munoz stops short of placing the blame on any party or individual, instead speaking to “elected officials” to work together to solve the current crisis.
For more on how the government shutdown has impacted travel, see:
- Hundreds of TSA Agents Are Calling In Sick
- Is It Safe for Airline Passengers to Fly During the Shutdown?
- What to Do If You Have a Passport Emergency During the Shutdown
- Global Entry Offices Closed Due to Government Shutdown
- Shutdown Creates Dangerous Situation at National Parks
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