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Delta To Help Out TSA During Busy Summer Season

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- With the busiest months for air travel just days away, concern is growing over long lines and delays at airport security checkpoints.

The Transportation Security Administration is working to fix problems that have led to missed and delayed flights. Recent changes to passenger screening created huge lines at many of the nation's busiest airports.

There are plenty of reasons air passengers are growing frustrated by the long, often slow security lines at the nation's airports.

"I've been coming to the airport about 45 minutes to an hour earlier than I normally would," traveler Roya Moltaji said.

Many, like Moltaji, have heard the horror stories about missed flights and long lines.

"I have to believe that all airlines are hearing from customers," Bill Lentsch, V.P. of Delta Airlines Customer Service, said.

So, to help ease congestion and speed the screening process, Delta is giving the TSA a hand. The Atlanta-based airline has hired 40 employees to help with non-technical functions at MSP International.

"I give them (TSA) a lot of credit," Lentsch said. "They came to us and said, 'what could we do to collectively make this a better operation, a better experience this summer?'"

The new hires will do jobs that don't need the rigorous TSA training and vigilance.

For instance, the new hires will assist with bag management, helping catch problems with carryon items before they get to the screening. They will also help agents keep the lines moving and shuttle those grey screening bins back and forth.

"(We) provide some resources to perform those tasks so that TSA agents can stay focused on keeping all lanes open," Lentsch said.

Delta's not alone with the commitment. Both American and Southwest airlines have also pledged more staff to the TSA.

Just last week, Congress approved $34 million to hire more TSA agents and pay for the necessary overtime. But for passengers it signals an overriding demand for greater efficiency without sacrificing air safety.

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