If you’ve ever been caught in a long line at the airport, you know how frustrating it can be. The extreme wait times were the worst at Chicago’s O’Hare, but that doesn’t mean D.C. area airports are in the clear. The head of the TSA knows something has to be done. On Wednesday morning, he’ll be testifying on Capitol Hill, as congress works to figure out how to fix it all.
The hearing starts at 10:00 and it’s called “Long Lines – Short Patience: The TSA Experience,” which for many, has not been good.
“I thought this is nuts,” says traveler Ron Glass. “There’s no reason for that to happen. Surely there just aren’t enough people checking you through. We don’t deserve this.”
That was Glass’ reaction when he saw what happened in Chicago, when hundreds of people waited hours to get through security, missing their flight and leaving some stuck overnight in the airport. Deborah Ensley isn’t taking any chances, either. She arrived hours before her flight. “If you come early it’s fine, but if you are rushing at the last minute you will have issues,” says Ensley.
Ensley and Glass’ trips through the security line was easy, but that wasn’t the case just before 5:00 Wednesday morning. “When I came in I saw the line, oh my gosh,” says Maksuda Bhuiyan, who works at the airport. “It was all the way to the metro station, it was so full I couldn’t believe it.”
Thankfully, Bhuiyan says the line moved quickly. But at Dulles Airport Katie tweeted that she waited in line for 2 hours.
TSA Knows you #HatetheWait, and they’re not trying to ruin your summer vacation, but your travel could get off to a rocky start if the agency doesn’t get its act together. Especially, as travel picks up in the coming months. That’s the purpose of Wednesday’s hearing on Capitol Hill. The head of the agency, Peter Neffenger, is testifying to the House Homeland Security committee to come up with legislation that can fix the problem. The head of security has already been canned and congress is sending 34-million dollars to help provide extra screeners. Neffenger says they will start posting up-to-the-minute wait times by mid-June and they’ll test an automated bin-moving system.
“I would think, so anything with fewer people and more automation would make the lines shorter,” says Glass.
Still, to be sure you make your flight and especially if it’s bound for West Palm Beach like Ron, you should get to the airport 2 hours before your flight.
TSA and Delta Airlines are already testing two automated checkpoints right now at Atlanta’s airport.