When AJ Johnson, a teacher from the United Arab Emirates, arrived Thursday at the Dallas / Fort Worth International Airport for his flight to Dubai, he was greeted with what he described as "a mess". He had already left the airport by plane. but had not seen such a crowd.
"The lines were exceptionally longer than normal, especially for a scheduled departure time of 8:00 to 12:30," he said, adding that only two of the three security lines at the terminal were staffed. .
A spokeswoman for DFW said the airport was operating "with normal operations" and that she could not comment in particular on the state of the lines of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). According to her, airport data shows that 90% of passengers pass the security in 14 minutes or less, on average. But the number of agents calling ill at the airport has increased by 200 to 300%, reported CNN Friday.
Across the country, other passengers have also tweeted complaints on the long lines of the TSA in recent days. TSA officers have been working unpaid since the government shut down on December 21, which could lead to delays in air travel, said Christopher R. Bidwell, Senior Vice President of Airports Security. Council International. profit representing the owners and operators of airports in the United States and Canada.
"The TSA has done commendable work in providing security despite the closure," he said. "We have not seen any significant increase in waiting times at the national level, but we are concerned that a prolonged government closure may affect wait times, as the TSA agents are looking for another job. "
"They work under tremendous stress while trying to secure our country. Many of our employees are single parents. "
-Hydrick Thomas, ST employee
TSA officers do not know when they will receive their next paycheck, which will weigh on employee morale and create longer queues for flyers, as some employees get sick, Hydrick said. Thomas, TSA employee and chairman of the board of the American Federation of Government Employees. , a union representing over 600,000 federal government employees.
"They work in extremely stressful conditions while trying to secure our country," he said. "Many of our employees are single parents. When you do not know if you can feed your children or pay your mortgage, the price is high. When you put a stress like that on a person, how can you focus on your work? "
Federal employees have a limited legal right to strike and, during production stoppages, the law forbids them to take a vacation.
This means that some employees will simply refuse to go to work, choosing to hold other part-time jobs until they are paid again to be able to work. pay their rent, said Thomas. The average waiting time to go from the end of the line to safety is 14 minutes nationwide, but Thomas said that he is get closer to 30 minutes with the current disturbances.
A spokesman for the TSA told MarketWatch that the volume is generally high during the holidays, which could contribute to long queues. Delays can also be due to equipment problems, discovery of prohibited items or other safety related factors, which can lead to longer lines.
"It's true that stopping federal funding has made it more difficult for affected federal employees to include our screening officers," he said. "They must be congratulated. Responsible for fulfilling our mission of protecting the country's transportation systems, it is through their integrity and commitment that we can provide ongoing service during this partial closure of the government. "
This comes after years of staff shortages at TSA have increased waiting times at airports, according to data from the Department of Homeland Security.
The airline compensation company AirHelp said 2018 "the most difficult year for travelers" because of excessive tourism, delays and poor quality of services provided by many international airlines. According to an AirHelp report, an average of 2,400 US travelers experienced disruptions every day of their flight each day.
"Our job is to ensure that passengers are at the right time and we are doing our best, but it's hard to cope with all that stress," said Thomas. "I'm just praying that the Senate and the House will come to some form of resolution so that employees can continue to do their job to the best of their abilities."
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