TSA Plagued By Long Airport Lines And Security Breaches: Stranded Passengers Say Enough Is Enough


It's every flyer's nightmare when arriving at the airport: the hours-long Transport Security Administration (TSA) lines that often cause many passengers to miss their flights and become stranded even if they arrive well before the recommended three hours before departure time.

The TSA recently announced that it would hire more personnel and set up a PreCheck program to help alleviate the problem, after yet another incident where hundreds of passengers had to stay overnight at the Chicago O'Hare airport.

Many are saying they've had enough.

Also, some airports, like Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, have been threatening to replace the TSA with private security companies, in frustration over the long lines passengers have to endure.

In response to growing customer complaints, the TSA has announced plans to hire at least 768 new security officers in time for the traveler surge in summer, and it also plans to offer overtime pay to existing officers to help get lines moving more quickly.

Reportedly, the TSA is also requesting help from airlines to reduce the size of allowable carry-on baggage and reduce the “non-security” work currently being performed by TSA personnel, such as moving X-ray machine bins and trays.

"We are asking the American people to be patient while we bring on the added resources as quickly as possible to alleviate the wait times," said Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, who oversees the TSA.

However, the workers' union that represents the TSA officers said that the TSA will need to hire at least 6,000 more officers if it truly wants to make a dent in the problem.

In the meantime, travelers and frequent flyers are being urged to sign up for TSA's PreCheck program or other trusted traveler programs such as Global Entry of the Customs and Border Protection Patrol to expedite their security screening process at airports and other U.S. borders.

However, one whistle-blower blamed the TSA's mismanagement of resources and even the abuse of the PreCheck program itself - not the lack of staff - for such long queues at airports.

Drew Rhoades is the assistant federal security director for mission support in Minneapolis who has testified before Congress over concerns of security breaches within the TSA.

"We were allowing unvetted passengers to take advantage of expedited screening," said Rhoades.

On YouTube, a video can clearly show TSA personnel using iPads to randomly select passengers to go through the expedited PreCheck line, whether they were properly screened or not.

Another employee also shared a similar observation.

"TSA is handing out PreCheck status like Halloween candy in an effort to expedite passengers as quickly as possible despite self-admitted security gaps that are being created by the process," said Becky Roering, an assistant federal security director.

PreCheck is a nearly 4-year-old program that the TSA hopes would get at least 25 million flyers enrolled by 2019. However, only 7.25 million people have opted to join the program thus far.

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