Homeland Security Director Outlines Plan To Speed Up Airport Security Lines

Image courtesy of Quinn Dombrowski

Following weeks of complaints from airlines, airport personnel, lawmakers, industry groups, and, of course, passengers about seemingly unending security lines at airports around the country, the Department of Homeland Security says it will take immediate steps to address the concerns, including hiring more screeners and approving the use of increased overtime. 

Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson announced Friday an “aggressive” plan to alleviate the excessive wait times passengers say they’ve experienced while traversing through airport security checkpoints recently, CNN reports.

Under the plan, the Department will accelerate the hiring of 768 new TSA officers. Those positions were originally earmarked to be hired over the course of the year, but Johnson says they could be on the job by as soon as mid-June.

Other steps the agency plans to take include employing more K-9 units to assist in screening, and allow airport security directors more flexibility in assigning employees and seeking help from other “non-security” tasks.

Despite the upcoming changes, Johnson maintained that the TSA can’t skimp on the safety of passengers and personnel, and urged passengers to have patience when arriving at airports.

“We encourage people to have the appropriate expectations when they arrive at airports,” he said. “Contemplate increased wait times as you travel.”

The TSA has been facing criticism over increasingly long security lines across the country in recent weeks, as the spring and summer travel season got underway.

Some airports have threatened to fire the Transportation Security Administration over long lines at screening checkpoints, and other airlines are calling the agency onto the carpet, while an industry group has urged passengers to Tweet the photos of the seemingly unending lines. 

TSA security line waits inevitable, DHS secretary says [CNN]