Chicago airports have extended their recommended pre-flight time to 3 hours due to security check delays.
An ongoing Transportation Security Administration (TSA) staffing shortage has affected air travel nationwide and has led to infuriating delays.
— O’Hare Intl. Airport (@fly2ohare) May 17, 2016
These May 17 tweets come just 2 days after 450 American Airlines passengers at O’Hare missed their flights due to security lines reaching 2-hour-plus wait times.
Dozens were stranded overnight in O’Hare’s Terminal 3 because there were unable to secure spots on later flights out of the airport.
— Midway Intl. Airport (@fly2midway) May 17, 2016
Leslie Scott, a spokeswoman for American Airlines, noted that since February, 4,500 American Airlines passengers at O’Hare have missed flights due outrageously long TSA security lines.
— Ariel Sara (@TheArielSara) May 16, 2016
Since January, the TSA’s new training program has graduated 352 new officers. There are currently 42,000 officers on the job, which is down from 2013’s 47,000 officers, according to the TSA employee’s union—the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE).
The AFGE also notes that the volume of passengers has risen 15 percent, from 643 million to 740 million since 2013.
AFGE’s President Jeffrey David Cox, Sr. said the current proposal to shift $34 million in Homeland Security funding to hire 800 additional TSA officers in 2017 will not resolve the issue of long wait times.
“Congress has starved TSA of the resources it needs to meet growing demands at our nation’s airports,” remarked Cox.
“Shamefully,” continued Cox, “it has even diverted some of the money passengers pay in security fees, shifting those funds from TSA to pay down the federal budget deficit.”
In a May 12 letter to Congress, AFGE union leaders call for the hiring of 6,000 full-time TSA officers, which should resolve delays.