It’s been a rough week for the U.S. Transportation Security Administration. As summer travelers began to arrive at the sliding doorsteps of airports around the country, security lines grew longer and the TSA’s social media channels filled up with pictures of the waits. But relief is on its way, according to Department of Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson.
While long lines are inevitable during busy travel seasons, Johnson said Friday, his department will step up its efforts to reduce them by bringing in more screening officers and potentially asking airlines to help out with nonsecurity roles in the process.
“We encourage people to have the appropriate expectations when they arrive at airports,” Johnson said while announcing the changes. “Contemplate increased wait times as you travel."
— Tom Greene (@greene_tom) May 13, 2016
The long lines affected several major U.S. airports, including those in New York, Chicago, Washington and Atlanta, according to reports from CNN. When confronted with the lengthy waits, passengers began turning to their mobile devices to protest their indignities on the internet. Their tweets ranged from sarcasm to simple frustration.
The hashtag employed to vent that frustration was pushed by Airlines for America, an airline industry group that has been encouraging fliers to post photos of their waits. The industry group even set up a website to facilitate the process, in which travelers can click on a button for Twitter or Instagram and have a pre-written message for their followers — with a TSA tag as well.
Johnson said Friday that the TSA will seek to add as many as 768 new transportation security officers nationally to speed things up, a plan that was already in place but will be expedited, given the mounting pressure from disgruntled travelers heading out on vacation.