TSA lines at Austin’s airport, Austin-Bergstrom International, have been in absolute chaos. Passengers who showed up early had to wait in lines that spilled onto the sidewalk. Many passengers ended up missing their flights.
One traveler tweeted The Today Show saying, “thousands of people wandering around austin airport with zero direction or help. Security over two hours with no assistance. It’s truly insane. @austintexasgov should be ashamed.”
The long lines started on Saturday, just days after airport leadership announced TSA had wait times of under 30 minutes. TSA didn’t have enough officers on Saturday to keep wait times low. The airport was expected to have 24,000 passengers traveling through. Airport officials consider over 22,000 passengers to be a busy day.
There has been an increase in temporary agents since March. Airport Executive Director Jacqueline Yaft urged TSA Administrator David Pekoske to send more agents. Security lines out the door had become a “normal occurrence” at Austin’s airport. According to airport officials, passengers waiting in line on the sidewalk could become a target for terrorist attacks.
TSA spokesperson Patricia Mancha said in an email, “We have implemented retention incentives, moving some part-time officers to full-time, chipping away at overtime, and the president’s budget includes improved compensation for our workforce.”
Airport officials are aware of the increase in summer travel and are forecasting 22 million passengers. This number exceeds 2019’s 17.3 million travelers by over 20%.