Here’s What You Need to Know About Airport Security Checkpoint Wait Times During the Government Shutdown

By Anna Breuer on 16 January 2019
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The partial government shutdown has led to a reduction in staffing at security checkpoints at the nation’s airports. Multiple airports had to consolidate security operations resulting in the closing of entire checkpoints at some terminals, including Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta, Miami International, George Bush Intercontinental in Houston, and Washington Dulles International.

Here’s a guide to what to expect in the coming days, as it’s likely that the absenteeism rate will continue to rise amongst unpaid Transportation Security Administration screeners.

One question you may be wondering is this: How much longer are the lines at security checkpoints?

While a few airports are experiencing significantly higher wait times, often most wait times are not much longer than those during peak summer travel season.

The TSA said on Wednesday that 97% of passengers waited less than 15 minutes and 94% of those passengers using PreCheck lanes waited less than ten minutes.

The wait times from Wednesday compare favorably to those earlier in the week when the maximum wait at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport was 88 minutes and Dallas Love Field reported 41 minutes. Wednesday’s figures were 23 and nine minutes respectively.

The longest wait times on Wednesday were at Newark Liberty International Airport with an average of 25 minutes and Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico, with 24 minutes. In both cases, the wait for Precheck was four minutes.

In San Francisco, where security screeners are employed by a private contractor and are not affected by the shutdown, the wait time on Wednesday – 19 minutes overall and four minutes for PreCheck – was consistent with airports where the absenteeism rate for screeners was higher.

Overall, those who are eligible for PreCheck – including those enrolled in Global Entry – remain largely unaffected by the shutdown insofar as checkpoint wait time is concerned. If you haven’t signed up for Global Entry or PreCheck (and Global Entry applications are not being processed during the shutdown, while PreCheck applications are being handled by a private contractor), perhaps you should reconsider.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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