TSA Slashes Notorious Security Lines From Hours to Minutes

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After hellishly long security lines at Chicago O'Hare sparked outrage, the TSA got new leadership and ramped up staffing for airport checkpoints.

There’s finally some good news for travelers flying out of Chicago’s busy O’Hare International Airport. Less than two weeks after O’Hare began urging flyers to arrive at the airport at least three hours before their scheduled flight to give them time to get through the airport’s ridiculously long security lines, airline officials say passengers’ security wait times have been slashed.

According to the Chicago Tribune, after facing harsh criticism for lengthy security lines across the nation that caused several thousand travelers to miss their flights in recent months, the Transportation Security Administration ramped up its staffing at O’Hare. The effort helped shrink travelers’ security wait times from hours to mere minutes.

One airline official at O’Hare said Tuesday that passengers were waiting just 15 minutes in security, the Tribune reports. That’s a significant improvement from the two hours (or more) passengers were left twiddling their thumbs in security lines just last week.

“Asking travelers to show up three hours before a flight is unacceptable,” Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., told TSA chief Peter Neffenger.

This likely won’t come as a surprise to anyone who has ever waited in airport security lines, but increasing the TSA’s manpower seems to be the key to alleviating the gridlock.

In response to traveler, airport and lawmaker outrage about the hellishly long wait times in Chicago, the TSA introduced new leadership at O’Hare last week, bumped 100 part-time TSA officers up to full-time hours and added four explosive-sniffing canine units.

“This strong leadership team and the talented workforce at O’Hare have made immediate adjustments that have dramatically improved passenger throughput, even as volume increased beyond 90,000 passengers a day,” Neffenger wrote in a memo to TSA senior officials.

An additional 300 TSA officers will be added to the O’Hare staff by mid-August, NBC reports.

Neffenger also recently replaced TSA head of security Kelly Hoggan with Darby LaJoye.

The TSA recently got congressional approval to use $34 million to hire roughly 800 new security officers and pay for more part-time workers and overtime for existing airport security screeners, though TSA maintains that a staffing shortage will still exist at some airports where security is already operating at capacity.

Check out “5 Tips to Avoid Long Security Lines.”

Have you flown recently? What has your experience been like with airport security? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

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