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Airport check-in getting worse

the new recommendation: 2 hours before your domestic flight or 3 before international

(Forbes) According to The Wall Street Journal, lines at TSA checkpoints are getting longer across the board, thanks to budget cuts, high passenger loads and new security procedures.

As a result of the budget cuts, fewer staff are now available to operate checkpoints, whether the lines are standard, priority or Precheck. That slowdown also applies to checked baggage screening, leading to more time loading cargo and a higher volume of delays.

As the summer travel season kicks into gear, passenger loads are going to surge throughout airports and security lines will continue to grow. And while the TSA is staffing an additional 1,500 screeners for the summer season, at peak capacity they’ll still have 12% fewer staff then they did in 2011.

Posted by
2018 posts

Atlanta claims to have put the TSA on notice that if the lines don't get better they will go private which is an option. We shall see.

Posted by
6872 posts

I expect airlines to be heavily lobbying Congress to restore budget cuts since it affects their "product" directly. I don't think TSA agents are going away anytime soon (Congress isn't going to allow them to be replaced by private sector employees); it seems like more of them are needed to deal with the volume.

Posted by
3621 posts

If Atlanta changes to private security and it turns out like many things the Atlanta airport / government has done in the past then we're in for even longer delays.

Posted by
18312 posts

TSA has plenty of employees if they would just use them efficiently. I came back to the US at Philadelphia a few years ago, and half of the TSA people were doing nothing but standing around screaming at the travelers. If TSA would put these screamers to good use, they would have more than enough screeners.

Posted by
914 posts

I have worked with the general public before, and in some defense of Lee's statement, the only time I have ever requested to speak to a TSA supervisor about an agent's attitude and tone was at PHL.

Posted by
1780 posts

There was an article in The Seattle Times saying that during peak times (6:30-9 a.m., 7-9p.m.) the TSA lines at SEA can be 120 minute. SeaTac was recommending the times given in the OP.

Posted by
31471 posts

We seem to be having similar problems here. On a flight home via Toronto a year or so ago, there were two CATSA agents manning the security checkpoint to process a huge number of passengers. I asked one of them why they didn't have more agents working during a peak travel time, and his reply was, "they've been laying people off". My response was, "what kind of an idiot would lay people off during peak tourist season"? That was of course a rhetorical question and I wasn't expecting a reply.

Coincidentally there was a story on the late news a few minutes ago on this topic.....

http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/review-panel-finds-long-lines-high-fees-at-canadian-airports-1.2803240

One of the solutions mentioned was scrapping CATSA and replacing them with another agency. If they do that and give the new agency the same mandate, I suspect the result will be the same. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Posted by
6872 posts

I learned something new today ....thanks Carol!

Posted by
4535 posts

Anecdotally I have also noticed what appear to be longer lines for security. TSA Pre-check has saved me several times lately.

Posted by
2018 posts

The problem is the TSA views "precheck" as the solution to their problems and is giving the "random" clearance to so many passengers that that line is often longer then the regular line.

There have been times in Atlanta where I have gone to the regular line and beaten the precheck line.

If they only open a few of the screening stations giving us all expedited status won't help!

Posted by
1780 posts

It was my understanding that TSA was discontinuing the practice of allowing random people through the TSA Precheck line. In traveling through Las Vegas, LAX and Seattle in the last few months, there hasn't been anyone allowed through that wasn't already Precheck. The Precheck lines were getting pretty
long.

Posted by
21084 posts

I was randomly routed through pre-check at MSP in late January.

Posted by
4535 posts

Every airport is different, but I have never seen a Pre-Check line longer than the regular security line. Never. And even when Pre-Check lines are long, they move very quickly because the security procedures are quite lessened.

My understanding is that TSA is working to end the random Pre-Check assignments (it was largely a promotional way to get people to sign up). But people may still be getting sent to Pre-Check randomly and I've seen people in the regular lines close to missing their flights get moved over to Pre-Check.

Posted by
5196 posts

I read all the articles in the news about how the airlines at Seattle Airport were suggesting 2 hours early for flights due to long TSA lines. I followed their advice and went from curb drop off, dropping my luggage at luggage check, and through the TSA precheck line in less than 20 minutes... Now what to do with the extra hour and 40 minutes......

Posted by
11613 posts

I checked a bag once in the last ten years (not gate-checked), and the line there was longer than security and check-in combined. Never again.

I have been getting random pre-check status for the last few years, always get through faster than the regular line.

Posted by
7614 posts

Mrs EB -- as I understand it, Global Entry and TSA Pre-Check are separate -- except that if you get Global Entry, Pre-Check is included. It's not the same the other way around -- if you sign up only for Pre-Check, you do not get Global Entry privileges. I think the process to get Global Entry is a little more involved, but I haven't looked at the site in a while.

Posted by
558 posts

Hi,

I have Global Entry. It does indeed include Pre-Check. However, with GE, you also get a faster line at Passport Control. It really helped me last summer in Dublin, when I was returning home. Everyone had to go through security lines (where the agents were checking luggage, etc) and then from there to Passport Control. It took about 45 minutes to get through security (there were literally hundreds of people going through), but then in the next room, I went to the GE line, and there was only 1 person in front of me. Woohoo! I was through there in a jiffy, thankfully. My connecting fights were only about 1 hr apart. So I was glad I had it. If you get Pre- check, it does not include GE.

:)

Posted by
5196 posts

A follow up report. Time from curb drop off, luggage check, TSA screening with pre-check to gate in Boise, ID was 5 minutes.

It obviously matters where and when you are traveling.....

Posted by
23 posts

What I wonder is whether the clearance would make going through immigration in the US quicker.

TSA PreCheck will not help, but the Global Entry program will. Global Entry costs $100 for five years ($15 more than PreCheck) and includes TSA PreCheck. After submitting the application, you need an appointment, and after approval you are able to use the kiosks to scan your passport (must have chip-enabled) and bypass the wait.

More information: [http://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/global-entry][1]

Posted by
2018 posts

Here's the deal.

Yes, you may arrive two hours early and go right through the process in 30 minutes leaving you a lot of time to wander the airport, but...

the day you don't arrive early will be the day it takes you 90 minutes and you miss your flight! Trust me it's much less stressful to have extra time post security then to be standing in a non-moving line watching the clock tick or pleading with people to "please let me ahead my plane is leaving" (Which rarely works because the truth is that most of us figure if we let you ahead it just slows us down... I don't want to go from "plenty of time" to "racing to the plane" because a bunch of other people got to breeze ahead of me. sorry but failure to plan on thier part is not a crisis on my part)

Posted by
129 posts

On my flight to Venice last year, I was selected as cleared at random. It was great, I have to say. Kept the shoes on, didn't even get my liquids out, just waved right through. Really makes a difference. The only problem I hit was JFK when I returned, where they did not have near enough agents to handle the hundreds of people standing in line (may have been thousands) JFK is OFF my list if I ever have an alternative. Traveling really is such a pain - you absolutely gotta love it to put up with all the hassle!

Posted by
11613 posts

JFK is off my list as well. I travel on a pretty tight budget but I will pay extra to avoid JFK.