TSA asks to hire more staff to alleviate long airport lines

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Passengers are being told to arrive 3 hours early just to get through security. And now we are hearing from TSA officials here in Houston.

Kelly Jones was waiting on her mom to fly in from Charlotte. It's the kind of waiting she likes, as opposed to the kind of waiting she doesn't.

"When I left out of here in January it took me about 45 minutes to get through the checkpoint," she said. "I don't know what the deal is."

She'd like to see more lanes with more people manning them.

"Put some more people up there obviously," she suggested. "That's what their problem was when I left in January. "

Kelly isn't alone. More and more reports of long wait lines are radiating from airports across the country.

The TSA has asked Congress for more money so it can hire more people after reducing its worforce for four straight years.

Peter Neffenger is the TSA administrator. He was in Houston attending an airline industry conference and specifically addressed the long waits.

"My job is to insure that the system is safe and secure so that it can operate efficiently and effectively," said Neffinger. "I know that we have checkpoint lanes that are not manned out there right now, even at the peak periods."

Not all airports are created equal.

Traveler Kathy Koch hasn't noticed the long wait line just yet.

"I live in Ft Worth," said Koch. "At that airport it's plenty of time because we have tons of check in stations. Now I haven't flown out of here in a long time, so we're about to find out if I've made a wise decision or not."

It makes sense that Fort Worth isn't a problem.

A 2015 JD Power survey of the airport satisfaction found DFW tied with Bush Intercontinental for large airports overall and ranked better for security checks. Dallas Love Field was at the top the medium airport list. Houston Hobby was at the bottom.

The TSA does offer a "My TSA" app for mobile devices. It contains a "wait time" function, but the information is input by travelers who use it. So it is only as accurate as those who chose to provide anecdotal wait times.

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