Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has today (May 18) announced that additional staff and resources will be brought in to help reduce Transport Security Administration (TSA) wait times for passengers at Chicago O’Hare and Midway international airports in the USA.
The announcement comes in response to a difficult week for the TSA and Chicago airports, with passengers regularly having to wait more than three hours to clear the security checkpoints at the airports.
Angry passengers took to Twitter and other social media channels to express their disbelief at the length of the lines, and some even posted pictures of passengers sleeping at the airport after missing their flight.
Ariel Sara, a passenger with American Airlines who missed three flights and was left stranded at the airport on Sunday evening (May 15) by the queues, said: “Now on hour 14 in @fly2ohare. No vouchers of any sort, cots and blankets taken away.”
The new measures announced by the mayor include moving 100 TSA staff members from part-time to full-time employment, with the aim of providing immediate relief during peak hours. Over the next three weeks, the TSA will bring 58 additional officers into the Chicago airports and nearly 250 extra officers will be assigned by mid-August. The amount of authorized overtime has also been tripled.
Other measures include additional morning shifts for TSA screeners and an additional five canine teams will be brought on board by the weekend, enabling TSA to screen an additional 5,000 passengers per day through TSA Precheck lanes.
Mayor Emanuel said, “The TSA wait times at Chicago’s airports have been unacceptable. There is no excuse for passengers to wait in line for hours. The resources we have secured are an important step in providing needed relief for the traveling public, as well as ensuring the safety and security of our passengers.
“I want to thank Secretary Johnson and TSA Administrator Neffenger for their time today, for recognizing how critical Chicago’s airports are to the national aviation system, and for making Chicago a priority.”