(UR) Chicago — At Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on Sunday, about 450 passengers missed their flights because of long lines at TSA security checkpoints. This brings the total to around 800 in the past week alone — and nearly 4,000 since February.
Earlier in the week, O’Hare had advised travelers to arrive at the airport three hours before their flights because of wait times that were longer than usual. But even with an advanced warning, many stranded passengers were left fuming.
“Got here two and a half hours before my flight and it took security two to three (hours) to get through,” one stranded passenger told local affiliate ABC 7.
But Chicago’s travel woes aren’t confined to O’Hare. At Midway International Airport on Thursday, one flier, Sean Hoffman, shot a video of an excruciatingly long security line and uploaded it to YouTube. The clip has over 2.2 million views so far and, according to Hoffman, had gone viral by the time he arrived home in Oregon.
“Are you fucking kidding me TSA? What the fuck?” Hoffman asks at the end of the clip. The video struck such a nerve that the Chicago Tribune covered the story in a Monday article.
“I just kind of felt the TSA’s getting more and more (awful) over the years, so it was just a breaking point,” Hoffman explained to theTribune about why he shot the video.
It seems the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey would agree. In a recent letter to the TSA it said that “The patience of the flying public has reached a breaking point. Given the adverse customer service and economic impacts, we can no longer tolerate the continuing inadequacy of TSA passenger screening services.”
The letter was in response to skyrocketing security line wait times at New York and New Jersey airports. Between March and April of this year, for example, wait times shot up 82 percent from the same period in 2015.
Backlash to these intolerable wait times has been building in recent months, as stories such as the one in Chicago are coming out of cities all over the country. The TSA cites understaffing and an increase in air travel as the major factors contributing to the growing security lines at airports.
One way the agency sought to alleviate the problem was through PreCheck, a screening process that allows already vetted fliers expedited passage through checkpoints. But a lack of enrollees in the program in the four years since its implementation has made it highly ineffective.
Meanwhile, the frustrated public is left wondering whether the TSA even serves a valid purpose, considering a CNN journalist’s pimento cheese was confiscated — but no terrorist has ever been caught.
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