As air travel rebounds, TSA struggles with worker shortage

West Bay

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — More Americans are dusting off their suitcases as post-pandemic travel ramps up, but at airports across the country, travelers are experiencing long lines and delays.

With the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reportedly warning of a staffing shortage amid a surge in summer travel, it could affect more than 130 airports across the country.

In a statement, TSA says it’s “well-positioned to meet rising traveler volumes” but the union that represents TSA workers says the situation is much worse than the agency is letting on and many airports are mandating overtime.

TSA has set a goal of hiring 6,000 officers to handle the uptick in passenger volume,

As more people take to the skies, airports are busier than they have been since the pandemic began, including here in Rhode Island at T.F. Green Airport.

Dan Velez from the TSA says T.F. Green was averaging around 1,100 passengers a day and now they are screening close to 3,700 passengers a day.

“Definitely get here in enough time to ensure that you can get your bags checked in, you’re ready to go before you actually get through screenings,” Velez said.

The TSA added that they are hiring for many positions across the country.

Officials are also urging patience as people begin to travel again with reports of in-flight violence on the rise.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, nationwide, it’s seen more than 20 times the usual number of incidents involving unruly passengers since the start of 2021.

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