About 2.5 million people are expected to travel by air this Memorial Day weekend, in what will be a major test for the TSA. Long screening lines have plagued airports across the country, leading to a sharp rise in frustration.
The Department of Homeland Security is asking Congress for another $28 million to be redirected to the TSA, reports CBS News transportation correspondent Kris Van Cleave. The agency says the money will be used to shift nearly 3,000 part-time transportation security officers to full-time, and that the increased staff will be able to screen more than 80,000 extra flyers a day.
- TSA chief on lines: "We have a challenge this summer"
- TSA blasted for "insider threat" security gap
- Head of security at TSA removed from position
Airports are bracing for record crowds as more than 231 million passengers fly from June through August. That's 95,500 more flyers a day than last year.
The seasonal surge comes as the shorthanded TSA struggles to keep the security lines moving.
"Year-to-date, more than 70,000 American Airlines customers have missed flights due to excessive wait times," American Airlines senior vice president Kerry Philipovitch said.
On Thursday, Philipovitch told Congress that more than 40,000 checked bags have also missed flights because of screening delays.
"It appears TSA did not adjust its staffing model after screening protocols were changed," Philipovitch said.
As we saw last week at Chicago's Midway Airport, patience is already running thin as wait times have at points surpassed two hours. The nation's airports are worried it'll get worse as travelers start taking summer vacations.
"Passengers are frustrated, taking their frustrations out on TSA, airline and airport employees. The anxiety caused by concern over missing a flight ... creates an environment that is already challenged and difficult," Christina Callahan of the Syracuse Regional Airport Authority said.
It's going to get more difficult to help passengers who miss flights because of the lines this summer. Planes will be fuller so there will be fewer available seats.
If you miss your flight Friday this weekend, it could be Saturday or even Sunday before you'd be able to get to your destination.