The Department of Homeland Security is urging airline passengers to "be patient" with security lines during the busy summer travel season, the AP reports. But that might be easier said than done as more and more passengers miss flights while waiting in security lines for literally hours. According to CNN, a flier in Atlanta reported a security wait longer than two hours on Friday. Another two-hour wait was reported in San Jose on Tuesday. A fed-up representative from Florida lashed out during a Congressional hearing this week, Politico reports. “You can’t get a hold of a damned person at TSA, even as a member of Congress,” said John Mica, whose associates missed a flight while stuck in a security line. “I am so disgusted with this."
On Friday, Homeland Security director Jeh Johnson announced an imminent increase in overtime hours for screeners and the hiring of 768 new security officers. TSA hopes to have the new hires onboard by mid-June. But even that might not help wait times. Congress cut the number of TSA screeners by 4,622—or about 10%—over the past three years. At the same time, screening processes are getting more thorough—and time-consuming. The TSA's union president says they need about 6,000 more screeners to rein in security wait times. The question, as always, is how to balance security, the needs of travelers, and the cost. If nothing else, the $760,000 in loose change and other money left behind by passengers and collected by the TSA last year alone could help, the New York Times reports.