A busy summer travel season is approaching – and that means long lines at the airport.
Which actually might be nothing new, as airports around the country have been plagued by lengthy wait times at security gates in recent months. The lengthening lines have drawn complaints from travelers, with the most trouble reported at airports in Minneapolis, Seattle and Charlotte USA Today said.
Lengthy delays at MSP earlier this year had travelers waiting an average 48 minutes during peak travel times. That happened after the security line situation in Terminal One went from six small checkpoints to two large ones.
Security head is 'acutely aware' of the long lines
Jeh C. Johnson, secretary of the Department Homeland Security (which oversees the Transportation Security Administration, aka TSA), said in a news release Wednesday he is "acutely aware" of the problem, adding they've taken several steps over the last month to fix things.
- More officers and canine teams to speed up the security process
- Trying to get more people to sign up for the PreCheck program. (But some travelers are reluctant to sign up for the program, NPR says, due to its cost.)
- And "Optimization Teams" to streamline the process – like returning bins to the front of waiting lines.
More money would help, Johnson says
Johnson though says the TSA needs more money to keep things running smoothly. He asked Congress to approve more money to pay for TSA overtime and "critical short-term needs."
Congressional committees considered the request Wednesday, USA Today reported, and the Senate subcommittee approved shifting $34 million from one TSA account to another to hire and train 768 new officers and pay overtime for 42,500 officers. House counterparts said they would study the proposal, USA Today said.
Franken, Klobuchar have called out the TSA at MSP
Sen. Al Franken vowed to cut lines at MSP last month, and wrote a letter asking Homeland Security to come up with the money to hire more TSA workers.
Klobuchar also called on the TSA to increase screeners at MSP.