How the Government Shutdown Could Derail Super Bowl Travel

January 18, 2019, 8:13 PM UTC

If the government shutdown continues, it could cause problems for those heading to the Super Bowl.

With just 17 days remaining until one of the biggest sporting events of the year, experts are starting to worry about the potential mishaps that could occur close to the big game because of the shutdown.

At the top of that list of worries is the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, one of the busiest in the world. Typically 70,000 to 80,000 people travel through the airport daily, a number that is bound to spike during the days before and after the Super Bowl.

However, with unpaid TSA agents calling out sick, Atlanta is currently experiencing some of the longest security lines in the country.

An influx of football fans is going to make a bad situation much worse and potentially cause cascading flight delays and cancellations around the country. So much of a crush that the TSA currently is planning for an additional 120 TSA officers during Super Bowl week, CNN reports.

Planning for all those extra travelers also typically involves planning meetings with the FAA and the NFL. Those conversations were underway prior to the shutdown, but have been put on hold since the shutdown started, leaving air traffic controllers somewhat less prepared than they prefer, NBC News reports.

And even if everyone is able to get to the game, there’s also a concern about security. The Super Bowl traditionally uses security from the FBI and Secret Service, both organizations where employees are currently working without pay.