Airports said they were seeing little to no impact on
security lines Monday despite reports of a higher than normal number of TSA
agents calling in sick as the partial federal government shutdown moves through
its third week.
"Operations at ATL are still moving well, with little
backlog," wrote Atlanta airport spokeswoman Elise Durham in an email. The airport's website showed that domestic
(non-Precheck) TSA lines were 15 to 30 minutes during the mid-afternoon, with
international lines less than 15 minutes in length.
"It's minimal impact right now," said a
spokesperson for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs
LaGuardia, Kennedy and Newark airports.
Wait times at LaGuardia were all less than 15 minutes during
the mid-afternoon, according to the airport's website. They were longer at the
other major New York metro airports, however. At Newark, lines ranged from 10
minutes to nearly 25 minutes. Kennedy was reporting lines of between 5 and 28
Because they are considered essential, TSA agents must work
during the shutdown, even though they are among the federal employees who are
slated to miss their paycheck on Friday.
In a statement reported by news agencies on Jan. 4, the TSA
acknowledged that call-outs had increased over the course of the holiday
period, but also said that security would not be compromised. In a Friday
tweet, TSA assistant administrator for public affairs Michael Bilello said that
in Dallas, 5.5% of workers called out that day compared with the normal
percentage of 3.5%.
In an email Monday, TSA spokesman Jim Gregory declined to
address call-out figures but said that over the weekend 90.1% of passengers
nationwide waited less than 15 minutes.
"We are grateful to the more than 51,000 officers
across the country who remain focused on the mission and are respectful to the
traveling public as they continue the important work necessary to secure the
nation's transportation systems," Gregory said.
Bill Begley, spokesman for the Houston Airport System, said
lines were normal over the weekend at Hobby and Bush Intercontinental airports.
Similarly, Denver airport spokeswoman Emily Williams said
security lines have been normal for the past few weeks.