The TSA has one thing to say to passengers frustrated by long security lines at the airport: It’s not us, its you.
In a new statement, the TSA placed blame on passengers, claiming that individuals are at fault for showing up to checkpoints unprepared. “Individuals who come to the TSA checkpoint unprepared for a trip can have a negative impact on the time it takes to complete the screening process,” the agency said in a press release, which also included travel tips to help cut down on delays.
The release also blamed the uptick in wait times on shrinking staff and a rise in travelers. Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, for instance, has seen an 8 percent rise in travelers since the start of the year, but has not increased the number of TSA screeners on hand.
Whatever the cause, even airlines are complaining that TSA lines are too long. "The lines at TSA checkpoints nationwide have become unacceptable," said American Airlines spokesman Ross Feinstein.
As the busy summer travel season looms, it’s no surprise that the Port Authority, which oversees busy hubs like LaGuardia Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport, and Newark International Airport, is threatening to hire a private firm to replace the embattled TSA. Both Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport have threatened to make the same move and San Francisco International Airport has already replaced the TSA with private contractors. The Chicago aviation commissioner also told the Chicago Tribune that city was pushing the TSA to shorten the “severe” lines.
An airline industry group is encouraging frustrated fliers to photograph security lines and post them to social media with the hashtag #iHateTheWait.