THE panic began this spring. America’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA) had made a bad miscalculation and cut the number of security screeners at airports as passenger volumes increased. Queues grew intolerably long and complaints of missed flights mounted. During the first five months of the year, 70,000 American Airlines passengers missed their flights due to long waits. A video of a comically long line at Chicago’s Midway International Airport went viral, collecting more than 2m views. The TSA sacked its security chief. Industry officials warned that things would only get worse during the summer peak travel season. American’s chief operating officer told the Associated Press that “based on what the TSA is telling us, there is no relief in sight."

And then a funny thing happened. The lines got shorter.

Jeh Johnson, the homeland security secretary, held a triumphant press conference last week at Reagan National Airport in...Continue reading