The holiday rush is on at ABIA and new efforts are in place to help travelers make their flights.
ABIA was filled Thursday with travelers trying to get a jump on the holiday rush. Among those expecting to be greeted by long lines was Shelley Mac who arrived early.
“I did, always do because of the lines, but probably now, knowing this is available I don’t have to,” said Mac.
What was available was a straight shot to the checkpoint. At the time, there were no long lines. But ABIA is not immune to long lines, things can quickly stack up.
"We are still advising passengers to come at least 2 hours early during our peak time and arriving 90 minutes early during our non-peak hours," said ABIA spokesperson Derick Hackett.
Typically the wait increases three times a day. There's a morning push that runs from 5 till 8. Midday and in the afternoon between 3:30pm - 5:30pm.
"We left early enough and we expected there would be little hiccups and take a little loner we were relaxed about it,” said Ralph Lyons.
The leadership of TSA has been criticized for not responding fast enough to long waits at major airports.
“That’s why I have no mascara on, I said forget the makeup, I’m getting to the airport,” said Marilyn Radko.
To address the problem the agency is hiring more screeners. At ABIA, and other locations, part-time employees are being upgraded to full-time positions and additional OT pay has been authorized during the summer holidays.
TSA also has a fast track program to help travelers avoid the maze of a Q. The problem is enrollment in has fallen short of expectations.
The pre-check program allows travelers to keep their shoes on and to keep a hold on to personal items like computers. The $85 fee is good for 5 years and pays for a background check as well as fingerprinting.
"To me it’s one of the greatest deals out there for travel, in terms of connivance."
Efforts to keep people moving are still being sidetracked by items like these. The knives- dummy grenades - and hammers on this table were all confiscated at ABIA.
"This calls for stopping screening fat the checkpoint, sometimes calling for law enforcement intervention, so finding items like this disrupts the screening process,” said Mike Scott with TSA.
Bottom line: expect a problem, pack smart and get to the airport early.