Southwest Airlines, TSA Blame Each Other For Unusually Long Security Lines At Midway Airport

People traveling out of Chicago’s Midway International Airport on Friday aren’t getting very far, as travelers are said to be waiting an hour or more to get through unusually long security checkpoint lines.

CBS Chicago reports that hundreds, if not thousands, of people are currently waiting in lines that the regular airport checkpoints apparently can’t contain.

One man who was able to bypass the queue through the TSA Pre-Check lane, which provides expedited screening for pre-vetted travelers, says the queue now extends to the airport’s exterior.

“It’s outside,” he said. “One of the TSA guys said you can’t see the end, because it’s outside.”

Unlike the last long-line fiasco at the airport, today’s issue can’t exactly be blamed on post-holiday travel overload.

Instead, travelers trying to make their flights say that Transportation Security Administration and Southwest Airlines employees at the airport are placing the blame on each other.

Some at the airport tell CBS Chicago that TSA workers said they were short-staffed on Friday, while others were told that the issues were the result of a Southwest fare sale that led to all flights being full.

A spokesperson for the TSA says security checkpoints at Midway are currently fully staffed, noting that the delays are just a result of an unusually busy day at the airport.

The agency also denied that wait times had exceeded an hour, saying that the average time was closer to 35 minutes.

However, a spokesperson for Southwest tells Consumerist that the issue appears to stem from TSA beginning operations on Friday with only six of its 12 checkpoint lanes open.

“By 11 a.m. (CST) they got up to eight lanes, we think that’s the max they can staff today,” the spokesperson says. “We’re working today to expedite passengers as fast as possible.”

Making matters worse, the spokesperson says that Friday’s are simply a busy time during the summer – Southwest’s peak travel time.

Irritated passengers turned to Twitter early Friday to voice their displeasure for the long wait.

https://twitter.com/nduddles/status/632170900952076288

Busy Morning At Midway Has Security Lines Jammed [CBS Chicago]