With a projected record year for summer holiday travel approaching, U.S. airlines and airports are spending millions on added workers to help shorten the increasingly long security lines. Summer air travel is forecast to climb 4 percent this year to a record 231.1 million passengers. Some predictions indicate that more than 38 million Americans will travel by air and road this weekend, which would be the second-highest since 2005.
The efforts of added workers are an attempt to create quicker security lines as some have become as long as three hours in a report last month. This caused thousands of travelers to miss flights and led to hearings in Congress this week on the agency’s woes.
“We are concerned for this weekend, where we’ll see higher than normal flight loads,” said Ross Feinstein, a spokesman for American Airlines Group Inc. “That will just continue into June and pretty much all the way to September.”
American, Delta and United airlines are expected to spend as much as $4 million each for extra workers at their busiest airports to help manage lines, shuffle bins at checkpoints, and help the TSA officers do their job.
“At this point it’s all hands on deck, and we’re thinking about everything we can do to help our customers make their flights on time,” Southwest Chief Executive Officer Gary Kelly told reporters.
The TSA plans to add 768 new screeners by mid-June to deal with increasingly long airport security lines.