Delta Offers Up Workers To Help TSA At Major Hubs In The Name Of Shorter Lines

Image courtesy of Quinn Dombrowski

While some airports are threatening to fire the Transportation Security Administration over long lines at screening checkpoints, and other airlines are calling the agency onto the carpet, Delta Air Lines is offering up help in the form of free labor.

Delta, which isn’t a member of the airline trade group that last week urged travelers to snap photos of seemingly unending lines at airport security and tag them with @TSA on Instagram, says it will assign some staffers at its major hubs to help the TSA complete any jobs that don’t require a badged agent in an effort to shorten those lines, the airline announced on Wednesday, at no cost to the federal government.

“The customers don’t distinguish security when coming through the airport between Delta and TSA,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian said during a recent media event at Delta’s Atlanta headquarters reported by the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “Security is something that, in our opinion, is a joint responsibility of both TSA and the airline, and we will do our share to help.”

Delta says it’s already provided TSA with engineers who are “looking at queuing design and giving recommendations” to speed them up, Bastian said.

The airline is also buying a 5% stake in a biometric identification technology company called Clear that lets users jump to the front of the TSA PreCheck line. Eventually, Delta will offer a discount to its loyalty program members, and diamond-level people will get that service for free.

Though others in the industry have blasted TSA for causing travelers to miss their flights or simply suffer long delays, Bastian said that attitude isn’t helpful.

“While I guess it is good to draw attention to the topic, I think it is much more important to do something about it than just complain about it, and that’s exactly what we are doing,” he said.

TSA recently unveiled several measures it’s adopted to combat those extra long lings, which will only grow longer during the heavily-traveled summer months, including adding more security screeners and promoting the PreCheck program. It’s also asking Congress for more money to alleviate the situation.

That’s not enough for some, including Senators Richard Blumenthal (CT) and Edward Markey (MA) who want airlines to drop checked bag fees to speed up airport security.

“Without charges for checking their bags, passengers will be far less likely to carry them on, which snarls screening checkpoints and slows the inspection process,” the lawmakers wrote to the airlines.