Here’s How the Government Shutdown Could Be Disastrous for Travel—What to Know and Do
If Congress can’t come to an agreement by Saturday, a shut down will take place.
If Congress fails to pass a short-term extension of their annual budget by September 30, a partial government shutdown will go into effect, doling out yet another blow to the already struggling travel industry, with impacts being felt throughout the National Parks Service, the FAA, and even the much-anticipated upcoming Fat Bear Week.
If an agreement is not reached in the House and Senate, the FAA—which oversees the TSA—will come to a complete standstill and force its employees to work without pay. The program that is currently training thousands of air traffic controllers to address the current shortage would immediately cease, resulting in further air traffic disruptions. And the National Parks service will also have to shut down, meaning that the annual Fat Bear Week contest taking place in Alaska’s Katmai National Park would potentially have to be put on hold, as dispatches from park rangers could be impacted.
According to ABC, as many as 4 million workers could lose pay as a result of a shutdown—about half of whom are military troops and personnel. Many workers, like those who work for the TSA, will be forced to work without pay, only receiving backpay once the agreement is reached. The U.S. Travel Association estimates that it will cost the U.S. travel economy as much as $140 million a day. Passport offices, which have already been dealing with a historically long backlog, will be further delayed due to the shutdown as well. Bathrooms and ranger stations at National Parks could be shuttered for guests. And lines (and imminent frustrations) at TSA would be further exacerbated.
Fat Bear Week voting occurs on an outside platform called Explore.org, so voting may not go dark if a shutdown happens. However, dispatches from the Katmai National Parks service may be limited.
The House and Congress have until midnight EST on September 30 to come to an agreement.