Memorial Day Weekend is nearly here, and so are the infamous travel delays that it brings to roads and airport security lines. But the Philadelphia International Airport is trying to alleviate the pressure on travelers, and is partnering with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to do so.
In a statement released Thursday, PHL CEO Chellie Cameron announced that the airport has hired extra staff to ensure efficiency.
"We understand that air travel can be stressful and that stress can be heightened by long wait times at the checkpoints," Cameron said. "People are anxious about the screening process, especially if they are leisure travelers who aren't accustomed to flying."
The additional staff will not work in screening lines, though. Instead, they will review rules for carry-on items for passengers, and inform travelers of expected wait times at checkpoints.
"We want to work with our partners at the TSA and the airlines to make the security screening process as smooth as possible," Cameron said.
This comes after the TSA chief said Wednesday that delays aren't expected to end anytime soon. Facing renewed criticism over long airport lines at security checkpoints, Peter V. Neffenger told members of the House Homeland Security Committee that passengers around the country will continue to experience longer than usual wait times because of the expected increase in summer travel.
“We are at a lower staffing level than we need to be to address peak demand,” Neffenger told lawmakers.
The number of TSA screeners has declined to 44,942 this year from 47,147 in 2013, according to the agency.
If you are traveling this weekend, the TSA offers travel tips to reduce your wait time:
- Arrive up to two hours in advance of your flight departure time for domestic flights, and up to three hours for international flights;
- Prepare for security by having your acceptable ID and boarding pass out, and avoid over-packing your carry-on bag;
- Apply for a Trusted Traveler program, like TSA Pre-Check, Global Entry, NEXUS or Sentri, which will help improve security.