If you’ve flown in the United States at any point in the last several months, you might have noticed things were a bit off. Even travelers who are use to shoe-related bottlenecks and the chaos indifferent screeners failing to properly direct traffic knew something was up. The waits at airports are actually getting longer.
In a recent article on the subject, the New York Times cited an inadequate number of employees at the Transportation Security Administration, tighter budgets, and new requirements at the checkpoints for all the confusion and delay.
TSA Chief of Operations Gary Rasicot told the Times that the number of screeners has declined while the number of Americans traveling has exploded.
“Where it starts is actually a volume issue. It’s really a good-news story. The economy is doing well, Americans are traveling more, and this equates with record numbers at our checkpoints.”
The problem comes when that surge is combined with lowered resources for the TSA. The agency reduced the number of screeners by over 5,000 in the past year because of budget constraints. Rasicot said that the TSA is doing its part to alleviate the problem, hiring 768 officers to oversee checkpoints and help at the busiest airports in the nation.
However, that help likely won’t come before the summer makes airports even busier. Rasicot admitted that traveling this summer in the U.S. is going to be “rough.”
It isn’t a good look for the TSA, with conservative thinkers already calling for privatization of airport security and airlines like American calling the wait times “unacceptable.”