TSA plans for summer travel crowds | WDVM25 & DCW50

(NewsNation) – With airports across the country only getting busier, TSA says it is stepping up its efforts and bringing in more TSA agents to help ease the long lines.

There are more than 150,000 travelers per day in Miami – that’s 17% more than last month.

More and more people are traveling and the summer crowds haven’t even started yet.

AAA officials predict 60% more people will travel this year than last year — that’s about 37 million people — nearly up to pre-pandemic numbers.

On Memorial Day alone, nearly 2.5 million people will board a plane. That’s why TSA officials say they’re rolling out a new plan to place more TSA screeners at larger, busier airports.

The head of the Transportation Security Administration said Tuesday that his agency has quadrupled the number of employees that could bolster screening operations at airports that become too crowded this summer.

Nearly 1,000 employees have volunteered to be sent to other airports as needed to help passengers get through security lines faster. And travelers say long lines won’t be a deterrent this summer.

It’s part of the agency’s plan for dealing with what’s expected to be a hectic vacation-travel season.

“We expect this to be a busy summer and we are prepared as best we can,” Pekoske said at a news conference near the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. “We will probably well exceed 2019 numbers at some airports.”

TSA currently has 47,500 employees at security checkpoints across the country. It says that when the lines get longer than 30 minutes, more help is called.

Pekoske said TSA is trying to predict when wait times in standard checkpoint lanes will be at least 30 minutes, or when wait times for PreCheck travelers will be at least 10 minutes. When that happens, volunteers will be sent from less crowded airports to help reduce wait times at busy airports.

TSA screened more than 2.1 million travelers in the past month. That’s almost as much as it was in 2019 — and travel experts say they expect this number to rise dramatically in the coming weeks.

Airlines expect summer crowds to be similar to 2019 and are preparing for the busy season by publishing ambitious schedules for the summer vacation months. Some airlines have recently trimmed those plans for fear they won’t have enough employees to run every flight.

International travel is still well below pre-pandemic levels.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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