BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) – More travelers are taking to the skies, but when it comes to security screenings, some are experiencing delays.
“Getting here and spending all that time in the TSA line and not getting on the flight is pretty frustrating,” said Maura O’Neill of Shelburne.
O’Neill and her family arrived at the Burlington International Airport just after 4 am Thursday for a 6 am flight. She says delays at security resulted in a change of plans.
“We had already checked in; we just had to drop our bags, which we did. And then we went to TSA and waited more than an hour in the TSA line. There was one person checking IDs for three flights, and, unfortunately, we ended up missing our flight,” O’Neill said.
Acting Airport Director Nic Longo says the Burlington International Airport is not immune to the staffing challenges airports are facing nationwide.
“It’s really the morning hours that are an issue for us right now, especially when only one of our checkpoints can and is sometimes open at a time,” Longo said.
That means everyone is checked in through the same TSA screening checkpoint.
According to the TSA, the Burlington airport is averaging 1,600-1,700 passengers per day.
Spokesperson Daniel Velez says they are working to hire and move staff to the Burlington airport in the short term.
“We have a national deployment force that we can reach out to– to try and help alleviate the staffing, and we’ve done that here at Burlington,” Velez said.
For some passengers like Ariana Smies heading to Chicago, arriving well before her flight is typically the best option.
“Just general anxiety of missing my plane– even though I know I’m going to be here an hour early– I always think I’m going to miss the plane or it’s going to leave for some reason, so I just want to be there,” Smies said.
That’s what Velez recommends. He says it’s important for travelers to arrive at least two hours early, even though that wasn’t enough for O’Neill. He also says double-check your bags before you leave home.
“Make sure you don’t have any prohibited items,” Velez advised. “One person with one prohibited item can slow down the lane anywhere from two to five minutes.”
Velez says using TSA PreCheck can also help to speed up the process.
Longo says a new five-lane TSA screening area is expected to open in the fall. In the short term, the airport is hoping for more TSA officers.
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