Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, early Monday morning, reported more than an hour wait for all three domestic terminal checkpoints. By 11:30 a.m., wait times had decreased to 30-to-45 minutes at the North and South checkpoints, while wait times at the Main checkpoint remained at more than one hour. By Tuesday morning the wait times at all security checkpoints, including International, had decreased to 15 minutes.
A combination of a busy Monday travel day combined with some security lines being closed led to the long lines, airport spokesman Andrew Gobeil said. He said he didn’t know how many security lines were down.
The first business day after security screeners missed paychecks for the first time due to partial government shutdown, the Transportation Security Administration reported a national absence rate of 7.6 percent, compared with 3.2 percent on the same day a year ago.
The agency said it is working with airports and airlines nationwide to consolidate operations and get the most out of resources. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is exercising contingency plans due to anticipated high-volume, TSA’s Assistant Administrator for Public Affairs Michael Bilello tweeted.
At Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport, a security checkpoint and ticket counter that were shuttered Sunday afternoon in Terminal B will remain closed through Tuesday, a spokesman said. The terminal handles United Express flights. Passengers must go through checkpoints in other terminals, then walk or take a train to planes parked at Terminal B. A spokesman for United Airlines said flights were not affected.
Washington-Dulles International Airport and Miami International Airport ended contingency plans and have normalized operations.
Bilello also said the TSA will reallocate screening officers on a national basis to meet staffing shortages that cannot be addressed locally.
The TSA said it screened 1.97 million passengers on Sunday, Jan. 13; of those, 99.1 percent of passengers waited less than 30 minutes and 93.1 percent of passengers waited less than 15 minutes. Precheck lines for people who pay a fee for expedited screening averaged less than five minutes, the agency said.
In Atlanta, Monday’s long wait times come with less than three weeks remaining before the city hosts one of the world’s biggest sporting events. Super Bowl 53 on Feb. 3 is expected to bring hordes of travelers to Atlanta for the game and days of concerts and related events.
“We’re confident that we will be as efficient and as welcoming as people expect the city of Atlanta to be here at Hartsfield-Jackson for the Super Bowl,” Gobeil said.