Irate US travelers tweet to protest long lines, TSA backlog

Passengers are frustrated by long lines at Chicago airports like O'Hare. (CBS News)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Some American airports, including Dallas, New York, Atlanta and Chicago, are seeing dramatically longer waits as more Americans are flying with the cost of flying dropping.

The situation has boiled over in Chicago, where lines have been brutal and authorities are recommending that passengers reach the airport three hours before departure. So far, lines at Raleigh-Durham International Airport have not been impacted, a spokesman there said.

“We are not seeing the lines everybody else is seeing,” RDU spokesman Andrew Sawyer said Wednesday. “But we strongly encourage passengers to come 90 minutes ahead of time.”

Sawyer said RDU had extremely long lines in the summer of 2015 and then worked with the TSA to get the TSA to hire more officers for the airport.

“That is helping to keep our lines pretty convenient right now,” Sawyer said.

RDU has almost 200 daily departures and more than 400 flights a day, Sawyer said.

A total of 231.1 million Americans are expected to fly between June and August, according to CBS News, up 4 percent from the record number of passengers in that time period last year. Part of that is being driven by the declining cost of flights.

Agents for the Transportation Security Administration have struggled to keep up. That has brought an irate response from flyers – and public officials.

“What is maddening and frustrating is it was predictable and could have been dealt with months ago,” Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel said this week.

Federal officials said the TSA will hire 300 more officers, switch part timers to full time and triple overtime to handle the demand.

On Friday, according to CNN, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said more waiting time is inevitable this summer season.

“We encourage people to have the appropriate expectations when they arrive at airports,” Johnson said. “Contemplate increased wait times as you travel.”

Johnson told reporters TSA is trying to hire officers faster to handle the demand.

In the meantime, flyers are expressing frustration on Twitter at #iHateTheWait.

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