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Congress OKs Funding to Ease TSA Wait Times

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(Photo: Thinkstock/iStock)
SmarterTravel

This year’s ongoing security difficulties (read: long TSA wait times) are about to get a multi-million dollar fix. Earlier this month, Congress approved $28 million in funds to convert 2,784 part-time officers to full-time, which will open an additional 53 security lines nationwide. The funds will also expedite the hiring of 600 new officers before the end of September.

The $28 million is currently allocated to other, less urgent accounts. This latest move follows a shift of $34 million back in May, which allowed for the hiring of 768 new officers. Airlines, notably American, also pitched in cash to help ease the long lines while others went as far as to redesign the screening lines entirely.

Will This Solve the Problem with TSA Wait Times?

According to USA Today, the last round of funding went a long way toward alleviating the problem: The average wait time for 99 percent of travelers is 30 minutes or less, and for 93 percent of travelers it’s 15 minutes or less.

Despite that, Jeh Johnson, secretary of Homeland Security, said the agency was “not taking a victory lap.”

“As I have said many times, we will keep passengers moving this summer, but we will also keep them safe,” Johnson told USA Today. “We will not short-cut aviation security.”

The TSA’s struggles resulted from an increase in passenger volume combined with a shortage of officers and a refusal on the agency’s part to speed up the process at the expense of its safety protocols. While the initial infusion of cash and the resulting new hires seems to have fixed the problem for now, investing in additional offers as the busy summer season kicks off—and with the holiday season lurking—will hopefully put this issue to rest for good.

Your Take

Have you flown in the past few weeks? If so, how was your experience going through security? Share your story below.

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