Some of the nation's largest airlines have decided to use public shaming to try to get the Transportation Security Administration to add more staff at security checkpoints.
A trade group called Airlines for America, which represents many U.S. airlines, including American, United, JetBlue and Alaska, has created a new website called 'I Hate The Wait.' On the site, it asks travelers stuck at checkpoints to use the hashtag, #IHateTheWait on Twitter and Instagram. (Notably, Delta is not part of the Airlines for America.)
Below is a screen shot of the new website. I suspect not many folks have found it yet, as I don't see much traction with the hashtag on Twitter or Instagram.
The AP's Scott Mayerowitz wrote a nice story recently explaining why lines have gotten so long, and why they may not improve soon. Part of the problem, he said, is that fewer people signed up for the TSA's Precheck program than expected.
The TSA cut its airport screener staff by 10 percent in the past three years, anticipating PreCheck would speed up the process. When not enough fliers enrolled, the agency tried to make up for that shortfall by randomly placing passengers into the express lanes. But it recently scaled back that effort for fear dangerous passengers were being let through. That's when the lines started growing, up to 90 minutes in some cases.
The TSA is shifting some resources to tackle lines at the nation's biggest airports, but says there is no easy solution to the problem with a record number of fliers expected this summer.
In its employee newsletter this week, American said long lines have become a major concern and recommended customers and workers use the hashtag, when necessary.
"Our customers are waiting in security lines for an hour or more," the airline said in the newsletter. "Due to the length of the lines, tens of thousands of customers have missed their flights and thousands of checked bags have been delayed in TSA resolutions rooms due to low staffing."
According to American, the TSA needs help from Congress.
“TSA has asked Congress for approval to hire more officers, and pay additional overtime,” Jose Freig, managing director for corporate security, said in the newsletter. “We are working closely with the TSA, and will soon add contract personnel to assist TSA with non-screening functions. This is a short-term solution, and it won’t eliminate long wait times. However, we are looking at temporary ways to help our customers.”
Have you been stuck in any long lines? What did you do about it?