As the government shutdown continues, the number of TSA agents calling out of their shifts has increased to 10%, the agency reported Monday. That’s more than three times the number of agents that called in during a comparable Sunday last year.
TSA workers, the folks that screen passengers at airports and their bags in the United States, are amongst the federal workers that are currently working without pay. The higher-than-average callout rate is attributed to the financial hardship being caused to those 51,000 employees due to the shutdown.
The TSA workers have already missed their first regular paycheck due to the shutdown and are expected to miss their second this week, Marketwatch reports.
Despite the high call-out rate, the TSA says the average wait time at its airport checkpoint lines is typically still under 30 minutes. Although that number is higher at some airports.
One of the security checkpoints at Baltimore/Washington International Airport was closed over the weekend but reopened Monday. A checkpoint at the Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston was closed and did not reopen.
The agency has also dispatched extra screeners in some cities with larger airports including Atlanta, New York City, and Newark, New Jersey to help local TSA agents. Should the shutdown continue, there’s some concern that it will start to negatively impact the travel industry.
The next major holiday is President’s Day weekend in mid-February, usually one of the most popular travel times of the year.