EgyptAir crash raises questions about U.S. airport security

EgyptAir crash comes as TSA faces wait-time c... 02:01

CHICAGO -- The EgyptAir crash comes as the Transportation Security Administration is facing criticism for long lines at airports across the country.

Growing flyer frustration made for tense moments at Chicago's Midway Airport on Thursday. But across town at O'Hare, passenger Sarah King felt differently.

TSA to outline plan to prevent security delay... 02:35

"It can be a bit tedious and bothersome, but I know that it's for our own safety and protection," King told CBS News.

With concerns that the EgyptAir crash could be an act of terrorism, the TSA is caught between its need to thoroughly screen passengers and baggage, and to get flyers through checkpoints in a timely manner -- all while handling a surging number of travelers and a staffing shortage.

"It's a difficult balance between efficiency and customer service and security," TSA spokesman Mark Howell said, adding that the agency is monitoring the EgyptAir investigation.

"There's a reason we do what we do, okay?" Howell explained. "Why do you gotta take your shoes off? Because we've had instances of the shoe bomber. Liquids -- the liquid restriction is based in real-life incidents, so as things happen in the world and as threats evolve, the organization kind of has to evolve with it."

#IHatetheWait: Outrage growing over TSA secur... 03:00

Following the October Metrojet bombing in Egypt and the ISIS attacks in Paris and Brussels, the TSA has increased screenings of airport workers, checked luggage and cargo -- in addition to extra scrutiny of passengers and their carry-ons.

"The lines are an enormous pain, but please know the lines reflect a commitment in this country to make air travel safe," FBI Director James Comey said Thursday. "Air travel in the United States as against the terrorist threat is far, far safer than it was 15 years ago."

So far, the EgyptAir crash has not prompted a visible increase in U.S. airport security. TSA Administrator Peter Neffinger will be in Chicago on Friday to discuss the agency's efforts to fix the marathon lines at the area's airports.

  • Kris Van Cleave

    Kris Van Cleave is the transportation correspondent for CBS News.