NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY) - Facing a growing backlash over extremely long airport security lines, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Transportation Security Administration Administrator Peter Neffenger addressed the upcoming summer travel season Friday afternoon and what steps they're taking to alleviate waits.
The TSA says it is increasing the staffing of Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) to help expedite the checkpoint process without sacrificing security.
Second, TSA says it has expanded outreach and enrollment efforts for the TSA Pre-check which allows eligible travelers to go through security more quickly without removing their shoes, laptops, or travel-sized liquids.
Third, TSA will be collaborating with airports and airlines to support non-security screening operations, such as returning bins to the front of waiting lines and other non-security related tasks.
The agency is asking Congress to approve a reprogramming, or reallocation, of Fiscal Year 2016 funds to pay for TSO overtime and fulfill critical short-term needs.
Fliers across the country have been facing growing lines, which during peak hours have topped 90 minutes at some airports. The TSA has fewer screeners and has tightened security procedures. Meanwhile, more people are flying.
Airlines have been warning customers to arrive at the airport two hours in advance, but now even that might not be enough.
In the past three years, the number of front-line screeners went from 47,147 to 42,525 in anticipation that an expedited screening program called PreCheck would speed lines. However, not enough travelers have enrolled.
With the Associated Press