Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport spent $17 million to make security checkpoints faster and more efficient – so far they've been anything but.
A week after the new north and south checkpoints fully opened – reducing the number of checkpoints in Terminal One from six small ones into two large ones – passengers are experiencing lengthy delays.
The start of spring break, when traffic through MSP doubles, is thought to be partly to blame, but the Star Tribune reports on Friday only seven of the 10 lanes in the north checkpoints were in service, with the security line stretching back to the middle of the lobby even at 5:30 a.m.
"This is crazy," traveler Vanessa Jackson told the newspaper after being told "good luck" by a desk agent about making her 6:40 a.m. flight to Chicago, with Transportation and Security Administration (TSA) officials confirming wait times stretched to 47 minutes Friday morning.
The changes were expected to reduce the average security wait time to about 15 minutes, down from the previous 20-25 minutes. That said, lines could be an hour long at peak travel times under the old system.
MSP Airport is now advising passengers to arrive at the airport 2 hours before their flight, even for domestic flights – tweeting the following Saturday morning.
Passengers have been complaining that the new system is "painfully slow," according to KARE 11, with many sharing pictures on social media of lines backing up the length of the Lindbergh terminal.
MPR meanwhile had been questioning the wisdom of the changes, with Bob Collins writing in his Newscut blog:
"It’s hard to tell whether the long lines at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport are because of spring break or because authorities have broken something that wasn’t broken as much."
The TSA is adamant that the changes will ultimately benefit travelers, telling KARE 11 in the short-term will "need fine tuning" but that "in the end this is going to be a much better experience."