Nearly a week ago I wrote about the impact that the government shutdown is having on the TSA. TSA agents are considered “essential,” meaning that they have to still show up to work even during the shutdown, while they’re not getting paid.
We’re now 20 or so days into the current government shutdown, and government employees have now gone without a paycheck. This has a big impact on everyone, especially the roughly 80% of Americans living paycheck to paycheck.
There were reports of big increases in the number of TSA employees calling in sick. This is probably a combination of factors — one being that everyone seems to be sick the past couple of weeks, and probably even more so the fact that many people can’t afford to come to work without pay:
- For many people, even going to work is expensive, between gas money, tolls, child care, etc., when they’re not getting paid
- Peoples’ first priority is putting food on the table for their family, so many people are turning to things like Uber to make a quick buck, since the government isn’t paying them
Anyway, there’s now a pretty concrete example of the impact that the shutdown is having on the TSA. For the next three days (on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday), the TSA will be closing one of the checkpoints at Miami International Airport early.
Specifically, the Terminal G checkpoint will be closing at 1PM. Flights that were scheduled to depart after that time will be shifted to other terminals. Per a TSA spokesperson:
“Due to an increased number of TSA screeners not reporting to work, we have decided to take this precautionary step and relocate about 12 flights to adjoining concourses in the afternoons.”
Apparently Miami Airport is seeing double the number of screeners call in sick as usual, and they’re not confident they’ll have enough workers to operate all 11 checkpoints, so they’re erring on the side of caution.
For what it’s worth, I find that Miami Airport already has among the worst security lines of any major US airport (especially the Pre-Check line, which unlike at other airports, doesn’t take just a few minutes to get through), so personally I’d recommend arriving even earlier than usual if you’re flying the next few days. And make sure you go out of your way to be nice to the TSA.
What has your experience been with TSA wait times the past couple of weeks?