The long security lines that have plagued many U.S. airports and have driven some airports, including Atlanta, to turn the job over to private contractors, have been getting worse again, after some winter relief. At some airports, passengers have now been advised to arrive 3 hours early for flights.
Ironically, one of the worst problems this week, at Atlanta, appears to be caused by work on a solution. Atlanta is one of the airports where TSA is on notice to speed it up or lose the job. On Monday morning, though, things went the opposite way when TSA closed one of its three security areas to install automated equipment it hopes will speed up the lines.
As a result, the Monday morning business crowd, along with post Mothers-day travelers and more, had to pass through the remaining lines, causing a buildup that overflowed first into the atrium and then into the baggage claim areas. Passengers spent as much as 90 minutes in the lines.
The Terminal South area, where the new system is going in, should re-open by May 24, according to TSA. In addition to having an automated bin return system, it will also have loading spaces that will allow 5 passengers at a time at each land to unload their belongings into bins. Bins that need inspection would be automatically moved to an inspection station instead of holding the line.
Other airports feeling the crunch particularly hard include Denver, which has posted the 3-hour notices, and New York, where the Port Authority, operator of the three area airports, warned TSA that "the patience of the flying public has reached a breaking point...we can no longer tolerate the continuing inadequacy of TSA passenger screening services."