TSA administrator pledges more resources to O'Hare, Midway

CHICAGO (WLS) -- TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger met with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Senator Dick Durbin and the CEOs of United, American and Southwest airlines Friday to address long security lines at Chicago's airports.

They gathered at O'Hare International Airport to talk about measures being taken to fix the frustration seen there, at Midway International Airport and at airports across the country in recent days.

More flyers and fewer TSA officers drove wait times up to unbearable levels. Some travelers reported waits up to three hours.

The mayor said it's unacceptable. With the summer travel season approaching, he said something needs to be done.

"Now we have a situation that is totally not tolerable for the flying public, because the people responsible were not doing the jobs that they needed to do, and funding, but also staffing positions," Emanuel said.

"I sent in a team that identified immediate staffing and operations adjustments. I've accelerated planned increases to front-line staff and canine teams. I've added thousands of overtime hours to ensure maximum flexibility to local leadership to meet demand," Neffenger said.

"We need to move America toward TSA Pre-Check. Pre-Check is a much quicker and more efficient system. We've talked to the administrator about ways to make it more passenger-friendly," Durbin said.

TSA officials said 100 staff members will shift from part time to full time. By this weekend, an additional five canine teams will be here. The TSA will send 58 more screeners to Chicago, with 250 more on the way. The federal agency authorized tripling of overtime.

For the past two days, security lines here at O'Hare have been moving much better.

TSA officials are advising travelers to get to the airport two hours before their flight, which is a big improvement from the three hours they advised earlier this week.

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