Extreme wait times at airport security checkpoints appear to be the new normal, but TSA is implementing some changes hoping to reverse the trend.
Wait times to get through airport security can go as high as three hours, and in some cases cause travelers to miss their flights, USA Today reports. That’s why TSA will provide them with real-time updates on security checkpoint lines with the myTSA app and an automated bin-moving system that lets five people load bins at a time. The app should be available in mid-June, and the automated lanes won’t be available for another few months.
The automated lanes are already being used at London’s Heathrow airport. TSA and Delta (dal) have begun testing the system at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
TSA administrator Peter Neffenger explained to USA Today why wait times have been so long. For one, the number of carry-on bags travelers bring on planes has quadrupled in recent years. There are also more people traveling. In the first five months of this year there’s been a 14.5% increase in passenger volume compared to the same period in 2015. To make matters worse, there are 5,800 fewer TSA agents than there were five years ago.
Additionally attacks in Brussels and Paris, as well as an inspector general’s report that found TSA agents failed to detect certain contraband items, have prompted stricter security measures, contributing to longer wait times.
The problem has become so bad that the House Homeland Security committee scheduled a hearing for Wednesday, during which it will consider legislation to remedy the issue.