Government Shutdown Making Air Travel Worse

Government Shutdown Making Air Travel Worse

The partial government shutdown is affecting airports and there are now lengthy security lines. How long do you think this will go on?

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Total Votes : 9

Scroll down to see how people across America voted.

As the partial government shutdown enters its 35th day, air travel is getting harder and more stressful as airports are facing problem after problem.

They have been presented with staffing issues because the shutdown requires workers to report in without collecting their paychecks. And that is something many members of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) have shown they will refuse to do, calling in sick, quitting, or just not showing up, which has led to difficulty in managing security checkpoints.

As far back as the beginning of January, hundreds of TSA staff members failed to report into work, which has led to significantly long security lines and potential flight delays.

Hydrick Thomas, president of the national TSA employee union, told CNN that as many as 170 TSA staffers per day at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport were calling out of work during the first week of the month.

Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson, considered the world’s busiest airport, was battling a shortage of TSA staff members and losing. And the subsequent consequences were met.

“Mondays are always busy days for us at Hartsfield-Jackson, but I can tell you that we are down a few security lanes because of the shutdown,” Elise Durham, the airport’s communications director, told CNN.

Callouts have been a significant problem at Dallas-Fort Worth Texas International Airport and became an even bigger one when employees missed their first paycheck. In Miami, they had to close one of their six concourses early for three days because workers were calling in sick at double the average rate.

“Due to an increased number of TSA screeners not reporting to work, we have decided to take this precautionary step and relocate about 12 flights to adjoining concourses in the afternoons,” airport spokesman Greg Chin said.

And the absences of TSA workers create another issue beyond just long security lines. “The loss of officers, while we’re already shorthanded, will create a massive security risk for American travelers since we don’t have enough trainees in the pipeline or the ability to process new hires,” Hydrick Thomas said.

But the problem has gone beyond just TSA workers. On Friday, January 25, 2019, flights from LaGuardia Airport in New York were being delayed up to an hour because of a shortage of air traffic controllers.

“We have experienced a slight increase in sick leave at two facilities,” a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement. “We’ve mitigated the impact by augmenting staffing, rerouting traffic and increasing spacing between aircraft when needed. The results have been minimal impacts to efficiency while maintaining consistent levels of safety in the national airspace system.”

And the problems at LaGuardia had subsequent effects of reported delays at Newark’s Liberty International Airport and Philadelphia International Airport.

According to the Washington Post, this announcement from the FAA was noteworthy because it was the first time there’s been a shortage of air traffic controllers.

According to White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, President Trump has been briefed on the issue.

“We are in regular contact with officials at the Department of Transportation and the FAA,” she said.

Now, all we can do is wait and see if these struggles will soften the president’s stance and urge him to end the shutdown. Read more on CNN here.

Here’s how people on the Zip app are weighing in on this all over the country!

The partial government shutdown is affecting airports and there are now lengthy security lines. How long do you think this will go on?

35% Ending soon
65% Few months
36% Ending soon
64% Few months
32% Ending soon
68% Few months

Ending soon

Few months

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