TSA warns of long lines

Michelle Gallardo Image
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
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Insane. That is the word travelers at O'Hare were using to describe the TSA's security lines.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- How many times have you been stuck in a slow moving security line at Midway or O'Hare, missing your flight or barely making it? Now there is a new warning from the TSA.

It is no secret that lines are getting longer with some people encountering lines that are 60 to 90 minutes long.

Insane. That is the word travelers were using to describe the TSA's security lines Tuesday at Chicago's O'Hare Airport. Airport officials were advising travelers in the morning to check in at least two hours in advance of their flights, to make sure they'd get through.

"Hopefully we'll make it. We're back to Connecticut. Dropped our oldest daughter here for a new job." said Shawn O'Brien.

As security lines around the country continue to get worse, frustration with TSA is on the rise. And now, some of the nation's biggest airports are threatening to replace TSA with private contractors. First it was Atlanta. Now it's New York. In a letter to the TSA, the Port Authority of New York writes because of:

"Angry complaints of passengers and airlines, with wait times at JFK up 82 percent, New York can no longer tolerate the continuing inadequacy of TSA passenger screening."

"We had to get better at what we did, so we've done that. That said we have very high travel volumes, higher than some had predicted," said TSA administrator Peter Neffenger.

TSA says it needs more staff and is asking Congress to authorize additional funding for overtime pay to keep those lines moving. A spokesperson for Airlines for America says, it's not about funding.

"With a budget of $5.6 billion dollars and nearly 50,000 on staff we believe TSA has the resources to be sure passengers are not subject to unreasonable wait times," said Jean Medina of Airlines for America.

And now, there's a new social media campaign, with airlines creating the hashtag #ihatethewait, encouraging people to post their pictures of long security lines. For those traveling out of O'Hare Tuesday, the solution is clear.

"Get the job done. Employ some more people," said traveler George Barry.

So the TSA is advising travelers to arrive at the airport two to three hours ahead of their flight. They are also encouraging people to register for TSA Pre-check that allows them to go through an expedited security line after they undergo a background check.