TSA says security wait times are 'within normal' range in latest statement

The Transportation Security Administration says wait times at security checkpoints are largely returning to the “normal” range following reports of longer-than-average lines at airports across the country.

On Wednesday, the TSA reported that “overall, passengers waited less than 30 minutes” the previous day, and 97.3 percent of passengers waited less than 15 minutes at screening checkpoints. PreCheck passengers, on average, waited less than 10.

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For reference, the TSA added that national average wait times are usually under 30 minutes for standard lanes and 10 minutes for TSA PreCheck lanes.

On Jan. 14, the TSA had reported there being longer wait times at several airports, though most still fell within the normal range.

The report of delays came following news of passengers experiencing crowds at airports across the country, allegedly due to staffers calling out of work as a result of not receiving paychecks during the partial government shutdown.

In a press release, the TSA admitted that some airports were indeed experiencing “longer than usual wait times,” but shared data from 42 top airports that suggested only a few were affected, and only by a few minutes outside of the standard wait times.

Data from 42 top airports suggested only a few were affected by longer than normal wait times.

Data from 42 top airports suggested only a few were affected by longer than normal wait times. (TSA.gov)

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Wednesday’s press release further confirmed an unscheduled absence rate of 6.1 percent on Tuesday, as compared to a 3.7 percent rate the same date one year prior.

Despite this, the TSA says “aviation security remains an essential priority, and TSA does not want to create any perception that an adversary could use specific information to determine possible vulnerabilities.”

The TSA confirmed that some airports would also “exercise contingency plans” in order to ensure effective security.

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The announcement comes just days after Miami International Airport closed down a terminal and diverted passengers through other security checkpoints over the weekend, and amid the ongoing closure of a security checkpoint inside a terminal at Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport, which was closed Sunday due to "staffing issues.”