Travelers brace for long TSA screening lines

A surge of passengers is expected at the area airports during the Memorial Day weekend with Friday almost certain to be one of the busiest travel days of the entire year.

Low fares compared to this time last year and fewer screeners at security checkpoints due to budget cuts will likely worsen wait times already taxing the patience of travelers since earlier this year.

"At JFK for example, just from March 15- April 15, there were 253 instances of waits 20 minutes or more wait times at TSA check points," said Thomas Basco, Port Authority of NY and NJ.

Wait times average from 22-40 minutes at the Tristate airports. Travelers have complained about missing flights due to the wait.

On Wednesday, the Transportation Safety Administration's chief told Congress that the TSA plans to add 768 new screeners by mid-June.

Most of the new screeners will be sent to the nation's busiest airports in Chicago, New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles and other hubs.

TSA officials are encouraging travelers to allot extra time to make it through the checkpoints during the summer travel season which begins Memorial Day weekend.

Domestic travelers should arrive at the airport two hours before a flight while international travelers should arrive three hours prior to their flight's departure time.

Some other suggestions include signing up for TSA Pre-Check; not checking bags and avoiding travel during peak hours.

With the Associated Press