Airport Security Delays Worsen As Summer Approaches

Allowing two hours for security screening recommended

Passengers and elected officials are complaining about Transportation Security Administration delays at airports in North Texas and across the nation, even before the busy travel season arrives.

American Airlines said 52 passengers nearly missed a flight to Las Vegas at about 7 a.m. Friday when the door closed before departure time, but the plane waited an extra 13 minutes for those passengers to clear security.

Another flight to Orlando could not wait to leave and 27 passengers stuck in security missed that flight.

“I’ve flown a lot this season and all the larger airports, especially, the lines are very long,” said passenger Nancy Helmcamp.

Arriving at D/FW International Airport, she said even her small McAllen Airport was slow Friday.

TSA Spokesperson Carrie Harmon confirmed there were longer than usual wait times at D/FW Airport between 6 and 9 a.m. Friday. She said TSA’s primary focus is the current threat environment and a strong economy has produced record travel volume.

“TSA is addressing the growing volume of travelers, with measures including more canine use, overtime and accelerated hiring,” Harmon said.

TSA figures show around seven million passengers have signed up for the agency’s advance screening program, TSA Pre.

Rick Seaney with said TSA predicted 27 million passengers would do so and staff was reduced in anticipation.

“Delays could be crazy long this summer,” Seaney said.

The TSA now recommends arriving two hours early for domestic flights.

“I do think the lines are very annoying,” said passenger Henrietta Morales. “I think people should check their bags more often so it would go a lot faster.”

Some elected officials are urging the airlines to waive fees so more people check bags, but the airlines say fees have been around a long time and the government is to blame for growing delays.

Frequent flier Scott Fernandez said he is a TSA Pre passenger and it helps him get through security faster.

“I think it is more people traveling that don’t know how to travel. If people paid more attention to the rules and regulations of how their supposed to do it, I think the lines would go a lot faster,” Fernandez said.

Harmon said TSA is also saving overtime money to boost manpower during the busy summer travel season.

“Even though it can be frustrating because we’re all in a hurry all the time, I would rather wait in a line and know that everyone is checked and feel confident when I’m flying,” Nancy Helmcamp said.

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