TSA Says It's Ready for a Record Number of July Fourth Travelers
If you’re flying for the Fourth of July holiday, you’ll have plenty of company.
The TSA said it expects to screen a record number of travelers during the holiday period, which begins Wednesday and runs through Sunday. About 12.1 million passengers are expected during that time, the agency said. Sunday is expected to be the busiest day.
TSA chief David Pekoske told The Associated Press that the agency is ready for the crush, saying checkpoint wait times should see only a slight increase during the holiday.
This year’s Independence Day holiday comes as the TSA faces a strain on staffing issues, according to the AP report.
Pekoske told AP that TSA is struggling with turnover, losing about a one-fifth of its screeners each year. That forces the agency to divert time and money into hiring and training new workers.
Pekoske said that “is not good for security either, because we are constantly bringing in new people and having to train them up, so the experience level at certain airports will get rather young.”
One of the problems, according to Pekoske, is pay that’s too low to retain workers in expensive markets.
This year the TSA also is dealing with the diversion of about 350 workers who have been called to the U.S.-Mexico border.
Pekoske said the agency can manage that for now, adding: “We don’t anticipate this would be a long-term measure.”
More broadly, late spring and summer are typically the busiest times of year for air travel. Thanksgiving tends to get a lot of the media attention, but eight of the TSA's busiest travel days have come in May and June.
This summer, TSA projects that 263 million passengers and crew members will pass through its US checkpoints between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend.
Top 10 busiest days in TSA history
|Rank||Date||Total passengers and crew members screened|
|1||Friday, May 24, 2019||2,792,670|
|2||Friday, June 21, 2019||2,772,898|
|3||Sunday, November 25, 2018||2,730,081|
|4||Thursday, June 20, 2019||2,728,786|
|5||Friday, June 14, 2019||2,727,849|
|6||Sunday, November 28, 2004||2,713,864|
|7||Monday, June 17, 2019||2,699,561|
|8||Sunday, June 23, 2019||2,678,089|
|9||Friday, July 20, 2018||2,676,487|
|10||Friday, June 29, 2018||2,676,198|