The Transportation Security Administration, often ridiculed for its policies and procedures (you really can’t bring toothpaste on a plane), is in even more hot water over its long screening lines—and now they want airlines to reduce the number of passenger carry-on bags they allow (and make them smaller).
The agency has come under fire from security experts, including Rafi Sela, former head of security for the world’s safest airport, Ben Guiron Airport, which is located in Israel.
“The TSA couldn’t protect you from a 6-year-old with a water balloon,” says Sela. Because the TSA is both a regulatory agency and a security agency, Sela alleges that they make their own rules. He also says that there’s quite a bit more “politicking” in airport security than there should be, which ultimately led to U.S. Marshals operating a body scanner and saving compromising images of travelers and public servants.
“I don’t want to frighten anybody, but today even the stupidest terrorist can circumvent the airport security in two seconds,” Sela said.
Now that you’re rethinking your trip to see Aunt Fannie this summer, let’s focus back on the lines.
When will they become shorter?
Hopefully this summer, says Department of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson.
“We are asking the American people to be patient while we bring on the added resources as quickly as possible to alleviate the wait times,” said Johnson.
Apparently more people are flying than ever before, but the TSA’s budget has declined for the past 3 years. They’re authorized to have 42,525 staffers, but passenger volume is expected to be about 740 million in 2016 alone. Apparently morale is also a problem within the TSA (who doesn’t like patting down strangers and confiscating breast milk from celebrities?), which has a huge turnover rate.
As of now, experts are suggesting you arrive at the airport three hours in advance of your flight rather than the standard two hours. (That leaves you more time to keep your kids happy, busy and quiet before your flight, and that’s on every parent’s wishlist.)