Travel and the Government Shutdown

Shutdown of the Federal government for travel.
A shut down of the Federal government, which took effect on October 1, will have minimal impact on air and rail travelers in the United States.

Essential government personnel – including those covering air traffic control, Transportation and Security Administration (TSA) and Customs and Border Protection – as well as those like passport processors whose work is paid by fees, will all continue to work as usual.

  • The Washington Post reports that “Any employee or office that provides for the national security, including the conduct of foreign relations essential to the national security or the safety of life and property. That means the U.S. military will keep operating, for one. So will embassies abroad.”
  • According to the TSA, nonessential employees will be furloughed, but the majority of our officers who screen passengers/luggage will remain on the job.
  • NBC News reports that, “The Federal Aviation Administration's air traffic controllers will also continue their normal activities so flights should not be disrupted, the agency said. FAA inspectors will still conduct inspections in the field and medical certification for pilots and air traffic controllers will continue.”
  • The majority of the Department of Homeland Security´&s employees are expected to stay on the job, including uniformed agents and officers at the country’s borders and ports of entry, members of the Coast Guard, TSA officers, Secret Service personnel, other law enforcement agents and officers.
  • The Department of State says that it would continue processing foreign applications for visas and U.S. applications for passports. That’s because it has some funds outside the annual congressional appropriation. However, delays in processing may occur.
  • Amtrak, which relies on federal subsidies, will continue to operate and states Passengers planning to travel on Amtrak trains in the Northeast Corridor and across the country in the coming days and weeks and be assured that Amtrak will remain open for business.

Because of the government shutdown, some tourists may be impacted as access will be closed to some of the country’s top sites and other attractions run by the National Park Service.

  • According to CNN, as part of the government shutdown, a total of “401 National Park Service sites, which collectively average about 715,000 visitors per day in October, will be closed.”
  • The closures affect the Smithsonian's 19 museums and galleries, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island in New York, Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Alcatraz in San Francisco, and the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., among others.
  • Visitors attempting to pay their respects at American military cemeteries located outside of the United States will feel the impact of the government shutdown. More than 20 overseas cemeteries operated by the American Battle Monuments Commission will be closed to the public for the duration of the shutdown, according to the commission’s contingency plans.

We provide the facts so our clients can make informed decisions about their travel plans.

Our travel agents are trained to monitor situations that may impact their clients’ travel plans. As such, we also are in a position to work on alternative travel plans and have those in place if and when the need arises.

We believe in providing the facts as we know them to our clients so they may make informed decisions regarding every aspect of their travel plans.

It’s in situations like these that the traveling public understands how it pays to have someone serving as their advocate.

By working with our trusted travel professional, we can provide alternative travel arrangements should the need arise.


Please be safe and let us know if you need any assistance,

Terry W. Brennan
Williamsburg-Travel Leaders