The US government’s partial shutdown took a major toll on the world’s busiest airport on Monday.
Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport (ATL) continued to warn airline passengers on Tuesday to leave at least three hours to get through security checkpoints for domestic flights, following TSA’s advice. An airport spokesperson told TPG that Tuesday’s wait times are within the normal range, and the airport is operating without delays.
On Monday, ATL’s official Twitter account posted that passengers were experiencing above average wait times for security checkpoints.
#ATL is experiencing longer than usual wait times during peak travel. Please plan ahead and give yourself 3 hours to clear security. ✈️
— Atlanta Airport (@ATLairport) January 14, 2019
According to data from the TSA, the maximum wait times on Monday for ATL security screening were 88 minutes for standard security lanes and 55 minutes for PreCheck lanes. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that wait times were more than two hours. One video, posted by a CNN reporter on Monday, captured the massive lines that wound throughout the airport.
So I’m at @ATLairport and this may be the longest security line I have ever seen. Even growing up here, and even for a Monday morning. One passenger told me he’d been waiting over an hour and still had about 30 minutes to go. pic.twitter.com/UL7EghujQI
— Omar Jimenez (@OmarJimenezCNN) January 14, 2019
Many reports say that because TSA officers are not getting paid for their work during the government shutdown, increased numbers of TSA employees have been calling out sick. The TSA says, however, that an “anticipated high volume” of passengers caused the short-staffing of TSA officers on Monday.
Today, Washington-Dulles International Airport & Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport are exercising contingency plans due to callouts related to a snow event & anticipated high-volume, respectively. Travelers should contact their airline before traveling.
— Michael Bilello (@TSA_Bilello) January 14, 2019
Two other US airports partially shutdown some terminals due to short-staffing of TSA officers during the shutdown. Miami International Airport (MIA) closed one of its terminals for half of the day on Saturday, Sunday and Monday due to a shortage of TSA officers. Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) similarly closed one of its terminals due to “staffing issues,” and a checkpoint at Dulles Airport (IAD) in Washington, DC, was closed, though the TSA attributed that airport’s low employee numbers to a snowstorm.
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