The long lines waiting to pass through Transportation Security Administration checkpoints at airports isn’t just frustrating and inconvenient – it has actually caused 70,000 travelers, specifically on American Airlines, to miss their flight this year, according to a new report.
The TSA has come under intense scrutiny in recent months, as passengers, airlines and lawmakers have complained that the agency is understaffed.
Here’s more information from VICE News/Reuters:
“A shortage of staff and a surge in air travelers have created a nightmare scenario for the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA), with airport wait times in places like Chicago having stretched beyond two hours.
“To say customers are agitated is putting it mildly,” Kerry Philipovitch, American Airlines senior vice president for customer experience, told a subcommittee of the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee on Thursday.
Those 70,000 customers account for just a fraction of the 63 million trips on scheduled flights in the first four months of the year for American, the world’s largest airline, but the number of missed trips is likely greater when including large US rivals like Delta, United, and Southwest.”
The TSA crisis is real – it’s not just a story that has been exaggerated by extra media coverage. With more and more travelers choosing to fly and cheaper airfares due to lower gas prices, a two hour security line at the airport is unacceptable.
U.S. airports, along with lawmakers, should have a serious conversation about relying more on private firms to handle traveler security. The TSA has cut staff in recent years, hoping that more consumers would sign up for PreCheck, which has roughly 9 million members, while the agency was hoping some 25 million would sign up.