Most TSA Wait Times Below 30 Minutes and Other Government Shutdown News

Jan 22, 2019

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Amid all the conversation about long wait times and insufferable lines at security checkpoints, the TSA says that the average air passenger waited less than a half hour to get through security at the top 42 US airports on Monday.

“Nationwide, the Transportation Security Administration screened 2.18 million passengers yesterday,” the agency said in a statement Tuesday. “Overall, 99.9 percent of passengers waited less than 30 minutes and 93.1 percent of passengers waited less than 15 minutes.”

And passengers with TSA PreCheck waited an average of 5 minutes.

According to the TSA’s data, the airport with the longest wait on Monday was Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (MSP) with a 46-minute wait to get through standard security. That was closely followed by New Jersey’s Newark International Airport (EWR) with a 40-minute wait for the standard TSA checkpoint.

Although the TSA says that New Orleans Louis Armstrong International Airport (MSY) had only 19-minute long security lines, captured a video of a line at MSY that was so long that it nearly took over the airport.

Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) were both slight over the average wait times as well, with 36-minute and 33-minute lines, respectively.

In Other Government Shutdown News:

  • Aviation unions issue warnings that the shutdown could cause mass flight cancellations, and worse

On Monday, Association of Flight Attendants union leader Sara Nelson urged Congress to end the shutdown on a CNN segment. “If these workers can’t do their job, I can’t do mine. And these federal workers cannot cash thank yous. They can’t. They have stressors on their family. They can’t even put a tank of gas in their car to get it to work,” Nelson said. She added that she believed that the unrest will lead to mass flight cancellations that could cause the system to “crumble and unravel.”

“This is going to have a massive economic impact,” Nelson added.

A fellow union leader, Dan McCabe — who is a spokesperson for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association — supported Nelson’s viewpoint. As pressures and financial strains mount, McCabe says he wouldn’t be surprised if TSA staffers started walking off the job. “There’s no gauge as to where someone’s breaking point is at,” he said. “Is it one paycheck, is it two paychecks, is it four paychecks? My biggest fear is that as people reach their breaking point that they’ll begin to quit.”

  • Federal workers are facing health struggles

After a month with no paycheck, furloughed government workers have been growing concerned about their health. CNN reported multiple accounts of workers that are currently unable to pay for vital medication for themselves and other family members.

While, yes, health insurance benefits for furloughed government employees continue despite the shutdown, the lack of pay makes some necessary medications, treatments and tests too expensive for them to afford. “With the shutdown and people having trouble putting food on the table, I’m worried this is an additional stressor,” John Kostelnik, a federal law enforcement agent who had has been furloughed despite needing vital medical treatment, said. “We are the ones that are suffering.”

Featured image by LEILA MACOR/AFP/Getty Images.

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