Passengers and airports alike have taken to Twitter to warn of extra-long airport security checkpoint waits. Don't let the current TSA situation catch you unaware if you have a flight coming up!
We've all been told that getting to the airport an hour before a domestic flight (two hours before an international flight) is sufficient. That's not the case anymore!
Passengers all over the country are tweeting about long security checkpoint waits and missed flights. Airport security lines are never fun on a good day, but at peak times, they've gotten significantly worse. TSA is reporting that yesterday's absentee report reflects a 6.8 percent rate of unscheduled absences as opposed to a 2.5 percent rate on January 15, 2018. The total TSA workforce is approximately 51,000 people nationwide.
Just yesterday, Atlanta's Hartsfield International Airport tweeted:
#ATL is experiencing longer than usual wait times during peak travel. Please plan ahead and give yourself 3 hours to clear security.
Courtesy of Miami International Airport
Miami International Airport tweeted almost the exact same thing:
Our partners @askTSA recommend arriving at least 2 hours before your domestic flight and 3 hours before your international flight.
According to the TSA, in Houston, George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) is consolidating checkpoints through at least Wednesday "for more efficient screening operations." Passengers should proceed to Terminals C and E from Terminal B Checkpoint and Baggage Screening.
Why is this happening?
Long story short, TSA workers are deemed essential during the partial federal government shutdown and are currently working without pay. Many of them are calling in sick to work or not showing up, and the country's airline passengers are starting to feel the effects from the staffing shortage.
How long will this go on?
It's hard to say -- as long as TSA is dealing with worker shortages, security checkpoint delays may be considered the norm unless staffing numbers change.
What can I do about this?
Simply allow yourself plenty of extra time to check in and go through airport security screening. It seems like two hours for domestic and three hours for international flights is the minimum recommended arrival time at the airport, according to TSA. If you factor in parking, shuttles, and checking in bags, this estimate could increase significantly. I personally prefer the kiosks for self-check-in, and curbside checking is always convenient if you're being dropped off with a ton of bags.
If you or someone you know is flying during the shutdown, check both the airport and airline Twitter accounts about terminal closures or delays. It never hurts to get to the airport early anyway -- more time for reading or grabbing a snack! As always, pack your patience when you fly and remember that everyone has a plane to catch, not just you!
**All photos in this article are courtesy of Unsplash unless credited otherwise.
Have you experienced delays in airport security lines lately? Are you seeing the opposite -- things running great at your local airport? Tell us about it in the comments below.