The huge TSA screening backups of earlier this spring and summer appear to have largely melted through increased staffing, and initiatives by airports and airlines. But there are still severe tests ahead.
The waits of up to two hours or more that caused thousands of travelers to miss flights and connections were big news, and led to several actions that appear to have helped.
- Congress allowed TSA a budget modification that allowed hiring several hundred new agents
- Funds were found to offer agents more overtime, and to make a number of part-time agents full-time
- Airlines, especially American, have invested their staff and funds in taking over non-security tasks (such as controlling lines, replenishing bins, etc.) at scanning sites so TSA can concentrate on screening
- Airports have done some of the same, and have also reconfigured screening areas to either create more lines or reduce bottlenecks.
But some of the fund shifts were from other projects; the diversion may not be permanent. And with Labor Day (estimated 15.6 million flying) and then Thanksgiving and Christmas ahead) we'll have to see whether the solution will be as long-lasting as we all hope.
For a round-up of the situation at a number of major airports, with statistics and quotes, from USA Today, click HERE
Photo: Late spring at Chicago O'Hare