If you’ve flown recently, chances are you have experienced long security lines at the airport. That’s because the Transportation Security Administration is under staffed.
The PreCheck program has over 9 million members, but the TSA was expecting 25 million people to sign up. And TSA reduced its workforce by roughly 4,000 inspectors amid expectations that more people would sign up for PreCheck, according to news reports.
The move is now backfiring as the TSA is scrambling to train workers and add more inspectors to security lines. They’ve even reached out to airlines for help.
Here’s what Delta Air Lines is doing to speed up lines for its customers:
“Providing staffing support at TSA checkpoints for tasks that will free up TSA inspectors to open additional checkpoint lanes at peak where possible or improve throughput. Delta intends to deploy employees or vendors in areas to manage lines, bins and other non-screening tasks.”
Another reason for the longer lines is the increase in travelers bringing bags on-board the aircraft to avoid paying the $25 fee charged to check a bag in the luggage compartment of the plane. These carry-on bags take longer to screen.
Aside from Delta, American Airlines is spending $4 million to speed up the lines. Here’s more info from the Los Angeles Times:
To help out the cause, Robert Isom, American’s chief operating officer, issued a letter to employees saying the Fort Worth-based airline is spending $4 million for contract workers who can reduce wait times by performing “non-screening functions like bin running and queue management so that TSA officers can focus solely on screening and security aspects of their jobs.”
He added that the long lines are “unacceptable to all of us, and the federal government can, and should, do better.”
Pack your patience. Try to give yourself an extra 30 minutes to 60 minutes to pass through security. Or, consider traveling through a smaller airport that handles less traffic.