TSA wait times at O'Hare Airport drop 90 percent, city officials say

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Travelers are getting through security lines faster at Chicago airports. TSA wait times are down to the single digits, city officials said. (WLS)

Travelers are getting through security lines faster at Chicago airports. TSA wait times are down to the single digits, city officials said.

Wait times at O'Hare International Airport declined by 90 percent since May, when lines at O'Hare and Midway International Airport were so long that passengers missed flights and were forced to sleep on cots in the terminal.

"I was at a conference. They told us the security lines might be 2 and a half, maybe 3 hours. So they let us out early," said Craig Gilman, a traveler, in May.

The city said Tuesday that average wait times are about 7 minutes at O'Hare and about 10 minutes at Midway. In May, the wait times were at 1 hour and 45 minutes and just over an hour, respectively.

The faster security screenings happened during the summer, one of the busiest seasons for travel, officials said.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel spoke at O'Hare Tuesday morning, saying the drastic drop can be attributed to more full-time screening officers and more canine teams.

"TSA's effort has been heroic in addressing the problem and making O'Hare the best in the system," the mayor said.

So who is to blame for the long lines back in May?

"If you look at the last 10 years of budgeting, it's been a problem for the government to handle," TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger said.

Neffenger and representatives from American, Southwest and United airlines also urged Congress to keep those lines in mind and not to cut back on TSA funding in future weeks. There is a bill moving through Congress to boost TSA funding by $163 million to prevent incredibly long lines from forming again.

Related Topics:
TSAohare airportmidway airportairport security
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