TSA ‘blue flu’ causes travel misery at major airports: Passengers stuck in huge lines as agents choose to call out sick rather than work without pay amid the government shutdown as pilots beg Trump to end it for the sake of traveler safety

Monday, January 7, 2019
By Paul Martin

Hundreds of travelers were seen waiting in lines at LaGuardia Airport on Sunday
Meanwhile, several TSA employees called out of work, according to the agency
Sunday’s delays come during the third week of the partial government shutdown
President’s shutdown has left nearly 800,000 federal employees without pay

7 January 2019

Hundreds of Transportation Security Administration agents have called out of work within the last week at major airports across the US, causing travel misery for thousands of frustrated passengers.

Massive lines of travelers formed at New York’s LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy International Airports over the weekend.

Photos showed hundreds of passengers waiting in line at the Delta Airlines terminal at the LaGuardia Airport on Sunday.

Wait times were around 90 minutes and TSA Precheck, which usually expedites travel security, was also closed at that checkpoint.

Meanwhile, passengers at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Charlotte Douglas International Airport and Raleigh–Durham International Airport were also feeling the effects of President Donald Trump’s partial government shutdown.

The TSA reported an increase in callouts by their agents, who aren’t being paid due to the shutdown.

TSA agents who have called out are using their sick days rather than work for free.

As many as 170 TSA agents have called out each day within the past week.

According to CNN, TSA employees from a morning shift were required to work extra hours to cover the gaps.

At the Dallas-Fort Worth airport, call outs have increased by 200%-300%, according to the news outlet.

During an average shift, the airport can expect between 25 to 30 TSA employee call outs.

The staffing shortages have also hit the Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham airports in North Carolina.

Those two airports reported TSA call outs being 10 per cent higher than usual.

On Sunday, passengers also reported long lines at the Seattle–Tacoma International Airport, Utah’s Salt Lake City airport and the Bradley International Airport in Connecticut.

A passenger at the Spokane International Airport in Washington state said there were ‘extra long lines’ there as well, ‘but TSA workers still working hard with a smile despite the fact they aren’t getting a paycheck’.

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