With viral videos of terminal-stretching waits and websites devoted to passengers airing their grievances popping up on the web, long TSA security lines are, unfortunately, the hot travel topic of the moment. But there may be some good news in store, as the Department of Homeland Security revealed on Friday that they have a line-minimizing plan in the works.
Along with hiring an additional of 768 screening agents, the department will increase the use of overtime and deploy more bomb-sniffing dogs to help speed up the security process.
"We want to keep passengers moving, but we want to keep passengers safe," Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said at a news conference at Reagan National Airport. He added that the TSA is turning to airlines for help in performing some non-security TSA tasks as well.
TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger blamed the long lines on the fact that the agency has yet to replace all of the 4,644 employees who were lost in 2014 due to budgetary measures. "When I came into this organization last year, I found an organization with 5,800 fewer screeners, and it had fewer front-line officers than it had four years previously," he said Thursday. "And that was in the face of significantly higher traffic volume."
The TSA union is requesting that Congress passes emergency legislation to fund the hiring of 6,000 full-time screeners. "Congress has starved TSA of the resources it needs to meet growing demands at our nation's airports," American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. wrote in a letter sent Thursday to House and Senate leaders.
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Airports and airlines have also been complaining about the long waits and understaffing. Some have even threatened to bring in private security firms: In April Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport said they were considering replacing TSA personnel with private security contractors.
Read the original story: TSA Reveals New Plan to Reduce Long Security Lines by Jordi Lippe-McGraw who is a regular Travel + Leisure contributor