Feds Say Airport Wait Times Are About to Get Worse

Some travelers say wait times already are at least an hour. Find out how early you should be at the airport — and what you can do to speed up your departure.

The average airfare fell to a lower level last year than in any year since 2010, but that may end up costing travelers more in time.

The combination of low airfare and a recovering economy has led to an increased number of air travelers, and therefore longer wait times at airport security checkpoints, CNN Money reports. Some travelers say wait times have been at least an hour.

The Transportation Security Administration now recommends that travelers arrive at the airport up to two hours before their departure time, even for domestic flights, according to CNN.

The influx of airport foot traffic is taxing the TSA, which is a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

DHS Secretary Jeh C. Johnson announced last week that the federal government is taking steps to adapt to what he described as “the significant increase in travelers and longer wait times at airports, and their projected growth over the summer.”

For example, TSA is increasing its number of security officers and canine teams “to help expedite the checkpoint process without sacrificing security,” Johnson said.

He has also asked Congress for permission to move funds to pay for short-term needs, such as additional overtime for security officers.

The agency is also pushing TSA Pre-Check, a program that offers expedited security screening.

Johnson says of individuals who enroll in the program:

This will help us enhance security while greatly reducing travel time for everyone.

For example, passengers who are approved for the program do not have to remove the following items from their person or their carry-on luggage:

  • Shoes
  • Laptops
  • Liquids
  • Belts
  • Light jackets

TSA Pre-Check is currently available for passengers flying on 12 airlines:

  • Air Canada
  • Alaska
  • Allegiant
  • American
  • Delta
  • Hawaiian
  • JetBlue
  • Southwest
  • Sun Country
  • United
  • Virgin
  • WestJet

You can apply for TSA Pre-Check online or in person.

For more flying tips, check out “How to Get the Best Airline Seats Without Paying Extra.”

Have you experienced longer lines at airports recently? Let us know about it by commenting below or on Facebook.

Stacy Johnson

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