TSA unveils plans to reduce long lines at airport security checkpoints

Wednesday, May 4, 2016
TSA unveils plans to reduce long airport lines
A.J. Ross reports on the TSA's plans to reduce the long lines at airports.

NEWARK, New Jersey (WABC) -- The TSA is unveiling its plans to reduce long lines at security checkpoints.

A high volume of travelers, along with new checkpoint procedures, are being blamed for the long lines.

Newark Liberty Airport is one of the busiest airport hubs in our region, and with recent budget cuts it's not been exempt from long TSA lines.

However some new changes are on the horizon that could help people get cleared for takeoff a lot faster.

With the summer travel season fast approaching and passenger numbers anticipated to surge, new TSA changes are already underway to help people accelerate through long security lines.

"As somebody who travels with a bunch of laptops, I travel with 10 of them, it's a huge pain here," said traveler Brian Leone.

"I think they need to do what they can do to keep people's frustrations level down," said traveler Larry Bissonnette."It's frustrating enough to be flying, knowing you have to deal with TSA it can be even more frustrating."

Budget cuts have caused logjams at many airports across the country, with many flyers airing their frustrations out on social media.

Newark is no exception with 70 TSA jobs cut since 2014, while traffic has risen by 7.3% over this same period.

"It really depends I guess what time you come over what not it can be pretty bad in the morning," said traveler Carl Warner.

"Variable, sometimes they're good, sometimes they're bad, sometimes middle of the day it's long, sometimes what you consider rush hour it's shorter to me. It's been very inconsistent," said traveler Mark Burgess.

The newly proposed changes include additional TSA staff and canine teams as well as more money for overtime. But members of the Global Gateway Alliance believe these measures are long overdue, and more details need to be laid out.

"The TSA needs to put specificity to them, how many staff, are they going to replace the staff that has been lost and bringing back some transparency," said Stephen Sigmund of the Global Gateway Alliance. "They used to post wait times, security wait times on their web site."

While the TSA is also expanding outreach and enrollment efforts for their pre-check program, some passengers already enrolled say it's not being executed in a uniform fashion at every airport.

"At this airport it seems like even at the busiest times not all lanes are open, so they'll say sorry we don't have pre-check today, this lane is closed," said a passenger. "You ask them when it's going to be open and they say they don't know."

The most recent stats from the FAA had Newark as the 14th busiest airport in the country.