At the beginning of the summer we were all wondering if the endless lines of TSA had any relief in sight. Well, a few months and a couple of million dollars later everything seems to be shaping up.
Most major airports were looking at wait times in the 2-hour range. Last week we decided to check up on 2 of the busiest airports to see if any progress has been made and we are happy to report significant improvements. Chicago wait times are down to 10 minutes (read more at CBS Chicago) and New York’s JFK International airport wait times are down to 20 minutes! This dramatic turnaround is a welcome breath of fresh air for travelers everywhere.
This progress is a direct result of Congress passing the bill that allowed funding for TSA to expand staffing. The bill enabled the agency to convert 2,784 part-time officers to full-time and to hire over 700 more new employees. Also, major airlines such as Delta, American and United have pitched in to hire staff to assist TSA screeners – all 3 carriers participated in a pilot program testing new methods. Delta actually designed its own security screening process.
This is particularly impressive because all of these changes were rolled out during a very busy summer travel season. TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger stated in Chicago earlier this summer that:
“This is the busiest travel season on record. In fact, some of the days this summer are bigger than what we used to consider the big days of Thanksgiving. So we’ve had some of our largest travel days ever, and I think it was just a matter of getting resources back in, and working with Congress to do so.”
Since taking head of the agency, Neffenger has addressed many long-standing problems and quickly acted to fix them. The TSA staff expansion was one of the first initiatives Neffenger lauded on shows like The Today Show (as we first mentioned in our article Sticky Security Lines? TSA’s Hot Summer Mess). Thus far his plans seem to be improving the catastrophic delays we saw last spring, but while adding more staff is a great fix, many question if this is enough.
Do you think the TSA should be pursuing new technologies to streamline the process further? Share your thoughts in the comments below.