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Shutdown flu: More TSA agents out sick, but wait times normal at security check

January 21, 2019

The Transportation Security Administration announced that wait times in security screening lines at major airports remain within the normal range Sunday, although more TSA workers are calling in sick amid the partial government shutdown.

Most travelers were in line less than 30 minutes for regular screening lanes and less than 15 minutes in the TSA PreCheck lanes, said TSA.

The longest average wait time in regular screening lanes was 45 minutes at Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans, site of the 2018 National Football Conference Championship in which the Los Angeles Rams beat the New Orleans Saints.

The plight of TSA agents working without pay has been used as a top example of the pain inflicted by the partial government shutdown, including fears that a sick-out by agents will make flying less safe.

The White House and congressional Democrats remain locked in a standoff over border security funding that has kept the government partially shuttered for more than a month.

Nationwide, TSA screened 1.78 million passengers Sunday, with 99.9 percent of passengers waiting less than 30 minutes and 93.1 percent of passengers waiting less than 15 minutes.

In TSA PreCheck lanes, passengers on average waited less than 5 minutes, according to TSA.

However, the agency said Sunday’s figures showed that across the country 10 percent of TSA agents had unscheduled absences, compared to a 3.1 percent rate on the same date last year.

“Many employees are reporting that they are not able to report to work due to financial limitations,” TSA said.

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