Ever since the events of 9/11 in 2001, US citizens have seen airport security tighten to the point of smothering. Over the past weekend, events at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago might have brought the overabundance of security measures to the boiling point.
On a non-descript day in the middle of May, one could not have foreseen the massive delays that were being created at the airport security checkpoints throughout the O’Hare facility. Some estimates had passengers experiencing delays of up to four hours just to get through security. As a result, as many as 450 American Airlines passengers were stranded overnight at the airport because of missed flights.
For the record, this is not a problem that is unique to Chicago. Similar issues have arisen at major airports all over the United States. In each case, tempers have boiled over and cries have been issued for a change in either TSA management or the security measures being employed.
In response to the problems in Chicago, American Airlines allocated some of its own resources to help TSA workers process passengers. According to American Airlines spokesperson Leslie Scott, “(They will be) standing in line, telling people to take shoes off, take electronics out and bag of liquids out.”
Much of the blame for these problems fall on TSA representatives who made the decision to start cutting staff amid budget concerns and the promise that paid “Pre-Check” programs would have a major impact on the number of passengers who would be required to pass through normal security. At almost $100 per person, these Pre-Check programs have yet to gain traction while the number of people traveling by air continues to increase on a year-over-year basis.
If the TSA is unable to address these issues in the immediate future, there figures to be a ground swell of additional support for replacing the TSA with private security companies that would be held accountable for prominent delay issues.