In other Transportation Security Administration (TSA) news, airports around the country continue to be plagued by endless lines, with beleaguered passengers waiting as long as three hours and sometimes more. A barrage of complaints from airports, airlines and passengers on social media has called on TSA to change its policies and hire more screening agents to expedite airport security.
TSA believes the delays are due to a significant uptick in travelers, as well as the number of people traveling with carry-on bags. Airlines for America (A4A), an advocacy group for the airline industry, has disputed these reasons. However, both the airlines and TSA agree that budget cuts are most likely to blame, resulting in a reduction of staffed officers. Congress has already authorized TSA to hire 768 additional employees.
This week American Airlines stepped up to alleviate long lines at various hubs after Port Authority in New York and New Jersey, as well as Hartsfield Jackson-Atlanta International Airport voiced frustration with understaffed TSA checkpoints. American Airlines plans to invest $4 million to hire contract employees at its hubs and various other congested cities.
With Memorial Day around the corner, summer travel is predicted to be busier than ever. TSA expects a record 231 million passengers will fly over the next few months. A4A estimates an average of 2.51 million passengers will travel on domestic airlines every day between June 1—Aug. 31, an increase of nearly 4 percent from last year.
According to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, TSA is taking measures to resolve the issue by increasing the number of TSA officers and canine teams and expanding outreach efforts for TSA PreCheck. The agency is also working to collaborate with airports and airlines to hire more contract workers for non-security screening operations, such as returning bins to the front of waiting lines.
Check out some of the posts on Instagram and Twitter below:
— Iheanyi Ekechukwu (@kwuchu) May 16, 2016
— Ariel Sara (@TheArielSara) May 16, 2016
— JohnnyJet (@JohnnyJet) May 15, 2016