Published: Mon, January 14, 2019
Money | By Hannah Jacobs

Airport exec says rumors of longer TSA lines 'overblown'

Airport exec says rumors of longer TSA lines 'overblown'

"They have bills to pay, children to feed, and that's why we're looking to pay them so they don't seek other employment", he added.

If a significant number of controllers missed work, the Federal Aviation Administration could be forced to extend separation requirements, amount of time between takeoffs and landings, which could delay travel.

The nation's airports continue to operate, even as parts of the government remain shut down: air traffic control workers and airport security officers remain on the job.

The Transportation Security Administration said that 5.1 percent of screeners were absent on Thursday, up from 3.3 percent on the same date previous year.

While many government employees have been "furloughed", essential staff such as TSA workers are still required to go to work.

This weekend, concourse G at Miami Airport will close at 1 pm on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.

Screeners start around $24,000 a year, and most earn between $26,000 and $35,000, according to TSA. The suit also claims the FAA didn't promptly pay overtime to union members, an oversight the union said is also in violation of regulations.

The TSA workers' union president, Hydrick Thomas, has said workers are calling out at higher rates because of financial hardship.

Boettcher said it's important for travelers to do not forget to arrive early for flights, especially at larger airports.

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) noted that the number of controllers was already at a 30-year low, with 18 per cent of controllers eligible to retire.

In addition to raising security issues, fewer staffers on duty would increase wait times with longer lines at airports.

"Security effectiveness will not be compromised and performance standards will not change".

Longer lines would alienate travelers and could push more airports to replace government employees with privately contracted screening agents.

One XNA passenger said he is concerned after his experience going through security at Los Angeles International Airport when flying back to Northwest Arkansas Friday evening.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport organized an event with credit unions, utilities and nonprofit organizations that can help federal employees obtain short-term loans and assistance, said spokesman Perry Cooper.

Cox argued that compared with other agencies, the workers are facing tougher conditions and lackluster wages, making the shutdown especially grueling. "We're still advising people an hour or 90 minutes is probably best here, but in those larger airports at least give yourself a couple hours from when you check in to being able to get through the checkpoint".

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