Should We Be Thanking TSA Employees For Working? Maybe Not…

We’ve now approaching a month into the longest US government shutdown in history. Hundreds of thousands of people are not being paid, including those “essential” workers who still have to come to work.

Perhaps one of the most visible examples of this is the TSA, since we deal with the workforce at airports constantly. The TSA has seen a huge increase in the number of people who have called in sick, which is at least partly because:

  • TSA agents are trying to find side gigs that will get them paid ASAP
  • In many cases it’s cheaper for TSA agents just to stay home, so they don’t have to pay for gas, tolls, child care, etc.

I’ve taken a couple of flights since the shutdown started, and overall I’ve been impressed by how friendly TSA agents have been, and have also appreciated how friendly most passengers seem to be towards TSA agents.

I’m not usually a huge fan of the TSA (I have nothing against the individuals, but find the organization to be ineffective), though I’m doing what I can to be nice to them, even when they’re not nice back.

But I witnessed something interesting while going security recently, which caught me off guard.

I was using the TSA Pre-Check line, and the lady two people in front of me thanked the ID checker for working during the shutdown. He said “mhm.”

The person behind her also thanked him. The TSA agent responded “I hate when people say that.”

So of course I didn’t say anything, and just smiled and said “thank you” when he handed me my ID back. Then the person behind me (who clearly didn’t hear the previous conversation) also thanked the TSA agent for working, and he sort of let out a sigh.

My first reaction was “wow, I’m surprised how many people are being so friendly.”

My second reaction was “wow, that’s rude of the TSA agent.” But then I looked at it from a different angle. The TSA agents are working without a paycheck because they’re pawns in a political game, and in many cases are probably struggling to put food on the table for their family.

If people are constantly thanking them for working without pay, on some level that’s annoying. Maybe aside from the extroverted TSA agents who actually like their jobs (do those exist?), for the most part TSA agents don’t want “thanks,” they just want paychecks.

Perhaps it’s not unlike how some people don’t want “thoughts and prayers” every time there’s a shooting, but rather want gun control.

TSA agents mostly aren’t working because they want to be, but rather because they have to be, and because they can still be disciplined if they don’t show up or take too many sick days.

“Thanks” doesn’t pay for gas, credit card bills, rent, or child care.

I’m not sure if this was just an isolated incident, and I happened to see a lot of people thanking the TSA agents more than usual, or if the isolated incident was that this agent didn’t like the appreciation. But it did get me thinking.

For those who have been flying during the shutdown, what has your experience been with TSA agents? I’m not talking about wait times, but rather about morale, how passengers have acted towards the TSA, and how TSA agents have acted towards passengers in response to any nice comments.

Comments

  1. TSA, air traffic controllers and coast guard all expected to work gratis and no reference to back pay. Mortgages , rent , bills to pay and of course health care. Only in America. They should all walk out en masse

    The narcissistic troglodyte in the White House doesn’t care

  2. “The TSA has seen a huge increase in the number of people who have called in sick” this is 100% #FakeNews. The facts show just the opposite. Last year January 4.1% called in sick, this year it’s 3.8%.

  3. I wouldn’t think too much into this. Like everyone else, the TSA agents just want it to be over and to go back to normal. I haven’t thanked them, but have commiserated with them and they’ve been friendly enough about it. For what’s its worth, I’ve found the CBP inspectors (even at JFK) to be friendlier, too. I asked one CBP inspector if the cute little four-legged snitch wandering around baggage claim sniffing luggage was wrapped up in all of this. He said that the dog’s supply of liver snaps have been cut back!

  4. Someone told me that he sighs when in military uniform and then being thanked for his service. He said his job in Iraq was very safe and had no added risk (or not much). He said those on patrol have very dangerous jobs but he was safe and secure on the base.

    I have, on rare occasions, thank the TSA ID checker if he/she is very fast compared to the agent next to him. I don’t say “thanks for being so fast compared to the jerk next to you”. I just say “you work so quickly, thanks”.

  5. TSA has been fine, it was frustrating that TSA precheck lines were closed in one airport, but luckily I gave myself additional time.

    I’ve been on the other side of the fence before during a shutdown, I was lucky enough to be buffered by the institution I worked for at the time. Even with the buffer, it was very stressful to understand that the funding may run out at any time. I understand the feelings that come with a shutdown and uncertainty around it. This one is particularly bad and I have been impressed there wasn’t a larger backup at TSA when I did show up.

    TSA agents seemed normal and some were still happy. I’m not sure I would handle it with as much grace as many of them were.

  6. I haven’t noticed much of a difference honestly. Didn’t hear people thanking TSA agents but also noticed people seemed to all be on best behavior so hopefully making their jobs a little easier at least.

  7. @ Eli — This is so much of what’s wrong with this country. You call it #FakeNews and you didn’t bother to check the TSA press release?
    “Yesterday’s complete figures show that TSA experienced a national rate of 10 percent of unscheduled absences compared to a 3.1 percent rate one year ago on the same day, Jan. 20, 2018; many employees are reporting that they are not able to report to work due to financial limitations.”

    Could you PLEASE share your source? Because even two weeks ago the stats I saw suggested an increase from 3.8% to 4.6%.

  8. I’ve been thanking TSA agents for the last few weeks and, in all cases, have received a gracious and appreciative reply. One agent said “thank you for your support.” I will continue to thank them

  9. We had a flight from Dallas to Sioux Falls last Thursday and the flight attendant got on the intercom to suggest each passenger donate $1 to a pot for the TSA agents due to the shutdown. The flight attendant mumbled for awhile and came to the realization that she didn’t know how she would disperse the income and that it might not be legal and just ended up disconnecting the intercom and sat down. Was awkward for everyone involved.

  10. @lucky on another note… when can we expect new trip reports? It feels like an eternity since you last posted one (even though it was like two weeks ago) 🙂

  11. I am amazed that more have not walked off the job, but it is only a matter of time. TSA screeners make very little pay, so it would not be hard to find something better; relatively quickly. On the other hand, government workers of a higher pay grade and/or those with security clearances are really stuck between a rock and a hard place. Many would not be able to QUICKLY obtain similar employment, and the ramifications of just leaving, with a security clearance, could be long-term.

    During a previous shutdown (previous administration), my husband and I were cleared employees who both made >100k per year and were on government assignment within the US (so got a housing allowance). We were both “essential” so had to work without pay for a couple of weeks and also had to cover our exorbitant home rental (and our real home mortgage) without pay or our normal stipend. Additionally, to “quit from the field” was a huge issue for our employer which would result in life-long implications; we felt like we were being held hostage.

    Fast forward several months….we both resigned on the same day to go back into the “civilian” work-force where we had stability and would never be told to work without pay.

    This political BS has implications that last for decades after. The government lost two “highly skilled” mid-career employees who will NEVER work for the government again. We must ensure stability in the federal workforce to retain top-talent. Do you want the CDC’s doctors to only include the “bottom of the class?”

  12. I experienced the same thing 2 weeks ago. The agent checking IDs was not appreciative of everyone thanking him for working. Federal law prohibits tipping them like the luggage handlers. So we cant tip them. Yet, thanks do not put meals on the table. Instead we should tell them we have contacted our congressmen and women requesting an end to the shutdown. And we should do exactly that.

  13. I was in MCI this week and realized, after looking at the uniform variation, that security was done by a private firm there as it is done at a number of other airports. I asked the workers there if they were affected by the shutdown and it was business as usual for them since they are still funded by their employer 🙂

  14. I got creative when going through TSA in Cleveland. I said I was going back to DC and would be sure to take my dog on a walk to take a big dump in some places. It got a laugh.

  15. I’ve taken five flights (including two last week) since the shutdown and I’ve had no TSA long line issues or PreCheck closures at SAN, PHL, JFK and CLT. I don’t doubt that some are experiencing delays. Hopefully, the politicians will find a way to reopen the Government sooner rather than later. I’m more worried about the Air Traffic Controllers being short-handed and air safety compromised with an extended closure.

  16. To note, like about 98% of government employees not getting paid {right now} they will be receiving all of their back pay once the shut down is over. Yes, it sucks to not have a steady paycheck for the monthly ills that need to be paid, there will be a bonanza when they do see their checks.

  17. You guys realize the incentives are asymmetrical. Republicans hate government. Donald is happy to screw the government employees and will be happy if more quit making in a hamstrung government for years (and I haven’t even used the he is a russian agent so he v wants to weaken the USA argument yet.)
    Democrats meanwhile have to show that a good functioning government is good for the country.

    There is one party in this dispute that is happy that the government is shutdown (and again I didn’t bring up the white Republican males are [email protected] argument either)

  18. @ Eli — Just a quick note of encouragement to not disappear on us. If I missed a statistic, I’d love to know what it is.

    If you in fact claimed that an accurate statistic was fake news while making up a fake statistic, I’d have so much respect for you if you just admitted it.

  19. Im a federal employee. My agency was fully funded under a budget resolution. THE PROBLEM here with TSA, etc not being paid is due to the CONGRESS not passing a budget. The President has submitted a budget and Congress refuses to pass a budget. So with continuing resolutions, this is the issue we have. So STOP blaming POTUS, he did his job a year ago by submitting a budget. TSA will get paid, so move on. Its the ones that arent working and that WILL get paid even though they didnt work a minute, are the ones you should be concerned about. This doenst happen in the private sector so why are we Feds special? We all pay 9-11 fees on our tickets, TSA should be open, working and being paid <-THATS THE REAL ISSUE WITH TSA. And who cares about call off rates??? TSA will get paid whether they work, dont work, take sick leave. Someone else can come in and work for them, big deal…you have to wait another 20 minutes in line with your bags you refuse to check?? Some of you get paid to stand in line, so whats your beef? I get paid to show up 3 hours early, guess what? I do. Im getting paid. If a TSA agent doenst like their position in the Gov, then move on. No ones stopping them.

  20. @Eli: the only #FakeNews in this country is the story about a billionaire like Donald Trump is fighting to protect the poor blue collar working class.

  21. In developed countries we don’t force people to work without pay, unless it’s community service

    The reason federal workers are still being paid without working is that it’s not their choice not to work. They were forced to

    We also have universal heath care and I’ve seen federal employees on tears as they can’t afford medication

    This is down to the dotard in chief

  22. Have flown once during shutdown TPA-DAL RT. Short Precheck line and Clear at DAL so didn’t witness any other interactions. Thanked everyone and said I knew they didn’t have much choice, but I still appreciated it. TPA guys kind of shrugged as if to say “what option do we have?”, but agents seemed friendly and polite. Sounds like this guy was just understandably had a bad day. No need to take it out on pax who aren’t responsible for it, but I understand. Have no problems with all of them walking off and shutting air travel down.

  23. Breezed through the Precheck line at DCA on Saturday. TSA seemed to be in a better mood than usual.

    I work for an agency that managed to rearrange some left over prior year funds so we’ve been open and paid as usual. Only a portion of the government is closed. The people working for the government are largely salaried professionals. So it makes sense for them to get paid their salaries. They’ll have piles of work to get done once they get back to work. The sticking point is Mitch McConnell refusing to hold votes on all of the appropriations passed by the House (which were all passed by the previous Senate by unanimous consent) because the President says he won’t sign them

  24. I’m polite as always. Flying home Saturday from a week long work trip I quickly stopped at McDonald’s and grabbed 10 gift cards (that’s all they had) and loaded them with $10.00 each. I saved them until I got past security. I quietly asked to speak to the manager/supervisor on duty. He quickly stepped down from the platform and I met him halfway. I handed him the handful of gift cards. I told him I know it’s not much but it’s a meal for some of your team while working (there is a McDonald’s) past security. I told him it was BS they had to be pawns. But had they not come to work, I couldn’t have done my work. He truly seemed speechless as did another TSA employee. He said “I don’t know how to thank you”. I told him no thanks needed just keep the faith.

    These folks may drive us nuts at times. We might get frustrated with the organization but, they have homes, spouses, kids and pets just like we do.

    So yes a simple thank you is probably the best. And make it genuine.

  25. I have been through security at SEA, SLC, ATL, BOS, MSY, and SAT. ATL had longish lines, but seemed normal. SEA keeps re-arranging their pre-check lines, so it was long there on a Saturday morning, but moved fast with the scan your ID only system in place. The rest were short lines. The TSA agent in BOS wanted to chat with everyone going through her line, but there was no line, so I think it was more “entertainment” value. I have always thanked the agents – not their fault the mousetrap doesn’t work well. Oddly, the agents seem happier – maybe its all the positive attention from the public they are receiving.

  26. Does each ticket has a component like $5.6 (i.e., paid for a reward flight ticket within US) paid to TSA? This might also be called 911 fee. If this money goes to TSA, why would TSA need money from government?

  27. They probably don’t like being thanked for it because it just reminds them they are not getting a paycheck every single time someone says it. I wonder if they will get a bonus to cover all the late fees and interest they end up having to pay because they could not pay their bills.

  28. Personally I feel they should ALL walk off and call in sick. As well the air traffic controllers. Shut the entire system down. Nothing will get this remedied faster than a crippled U.S economy.

  29. Agree with others. We’re a month into this. We’d all be better off if they just all called in sick and forced the issue.

  30. The right is way better at propaganda than the left. Fake News as a phenomenon emerged in late 2015 with the rise on social media of websites designed to appear similar to real news organizations that presented entirely fabricated clickbait stories, down to intentionally confusing URLs. It was the news equivalent of a phishing attack, and these sites predominately indulged right-wing fantasies and fears. Then the right flipped the term around and applied it to legitimate reporting that was perceived as having a liberal bias. And they continue to use the term as a cudgel. People like @Eli can hashtag something #FakeNews and invent a competing “statistic” whole-cloth, their base will not question it (as they question nothing authoritarian), and the waters are sufficiently muddied that the factual data doesn’t matter anymore.

  31. @Mike Dacre and others…it is traditionally NOT guaranteed that any furloughed federal worker will get paid. In this case, congress was kind enough to preemptively pass a bill guaranteeing payment, but these TSA employees often work from paycheck to paycheck. How are they supposed to keep from defaulting on their loans to keep their credit? What about the late fee’s? If you think the government is going to help them with this…you are crazy.

    When this happened to me, we were told OVER and OVER that while traditionally employees will get paid, not to plan on it! This is no way to live!!

  32. This blog will not hear from Eli…either he tried to make a bad joke and missed the mark or he just wants to rile up people. So let’s ignore the post and move on to the actual point of this thread.

    I’ve traveled once and noticed no difference in the usual surly behavior of many TSA agents. Having spent a large part of my career in the call center business (similar employee demographics), please keep in mind most of the TSA agents are doing this gig to get to another Federal job, using it to as financial means to while they do their other no/low paying gig (artist, musician, athlete, writer, student) or in an area of low employment opportunities. It’s not a career, it’s a an interim path to something else; doesn’t mean they still don’t need the cash to survive. Let’s hope this all ends this week, but these type of employees will really disappear after missing that 2nd paycheck.

  33. @BrewerSEA

    Right on. Facts don’t matter to these people, they have no shame (or intelligence), just like their idol.

  34. Is the CBP (when i fly into, say, ICN-ATL) affected in the same way as TSA? What about pre-clearance locations?

  35. I’ve flown in and out of IAD to LHR and DCA to ORD.

    The lines in DCA precheck were great and TSA were good natured.

    ORD was a pain but I always find it a pain.

    I was chatting with the CBP folks at IAD. They are also not getting paid at the moment. As the officer who checked my passport (because Global Entry was not working) said ” I’m here. No pay. No love except from you all. But everyone thinks were are getting paid because of of our southern border”

    Eesh.

  36. I have flown 8 times since the shutdown and thanked the TSA workers every chance I’ve had. I have been thanked for thanking them every time. I have tried to offer money for meals and that has been rejected, politely. I haven’t tried the gift card thing yet but now I will. So far, I have not noticed any increased wait times.

    Like many others here, I’m not exactly a fan of the TSA. But it’s not right that these lower wage workers are caught in the middle of this.

  37. used to work on holidays and such, when ppl actually say things like thank you, or thank you for working on a holiday, it brings me a smile that im appreciated.

    then again, i was getting paid… so iono.

  38. Sounds more to me like just one not very happy or upbeat person. I wouldn’t generalize all of TSA from one person.

  39. Is it possible that the TSA agent @lucky spoke with is happy working without pay because he wants the wall to be built? After all, Trump keeps saying a vast majority of the federal workers support the wall.

  40. Should we start tipping the agents? Imagine 1$ from 1 passenger and let’s say, maybe he/she deals with 200 passengers per day?

  41. Steve – Are you seriously that dim? Presidents don’t make budgets…

    In fact, you may remember that before this all happened, both the House AND Congress created and passed a budget – the only person who prevented it going through was Trump. No-one else – period (you may also recall him bragging on TV about how he’d be proud to shut down the government and agreed that it would be a Trump shut down?).

  42. Sucks to be a pawn, but I really don’t feel sorry for them either. They will get their pay and benefits. They don’t have to worry about pissing off a pilot, so called celeb, or the airline station manager. Lets not talk about the shit the pre board screeners use to get before the TSA came to save us.

  43. I usually wish them well and then thank them after they do their check. Usually get a nice response. Of course, there is not one thing that will please everyone, but a little kindness usually goes a long way.

  44. Wow, went from TSA to “gun control and shootings”. Not sure where that fits in with points and mileage but whatever works.

  45. These TSA agents will really be despondent if and when the illegal immigrants crossing our southern border at sometime in the future apply for and get their jobs at significantly lower pay, like they have done with other jobs. Look around. I have always appreciated the thankless job they have. It is not their fault we do not screen for terrorists like in Israel. But if I were them I would be hounding my elected reps to fund that wall. They can kill 2 birds with one stone.

  46. The name-calling reiterates the point of just how bad our education system has sunk. It takes two to be at an impasse. EVERYONE on both sides of the aisle in Washington is to blame — and they are ALL still getting paid! The Dems rejected the WH proposal BEFORE it was even presented. Whether it was good or bad, does not negate the fact that they have not put forth a proposal whatsoever.

    A more pressing issue is how California Taxpayers feel about paying unemployment benefits to the federal workers who WILL get their back pay. Understand that people are hurting, but in the end, these people will get a “bonus.”

  47. Fact is they will get paid, even if they do not show up.

    Many are free to do other thing around their home or take more hours on their 2nd job,l

    Kind of like double billing.

  48. The TSA Agents ALL need to picket at each airport. Set a 4-8 hour period to bring the nation to a standstill. Yes, this would greatly inconvenience myself and other travelers.

    An 8 hour stoppage at ALL airports would see the Government shut down END!!. Imagine what this would do globally within hours.

  49. I always thank any person I interact with who does something for me, TSA or otherwise. It’s the polite thing to do. So, for those of you going out of your way to thank people, keep it up after the shutdown. It makes a nicer world.

    Not arguing that TSA staff don’t deserve something better — they do. But to @Lucky’s point, thanks doesn’t pay the rent or put food on the table. As a former Fed, I know how much this stinks and how much my former colleagues are frustrated. Thankfully they’re mostly later in their careers in higher paid positions and have funds in reserve, unlike many of the TSA staff. They’ll be OK financially, but they want to get back to work! After the shutdown we’re going to pay them, but no matter how hard they work, they won’t get those extra work days back.

  50. As an air traffic controller working for no pay, I know what they’re feeling. Granted TSA agents don’t make the money that ATC does, it’s still frustrating going to work each day not knowing when our next paycheck will come and that our livelihood is being used as a pawn in this ridiculous political game.

  51. I’ve been through PreCheck lines 5x this year and haven’t noticed a negative change in TSA attitude. My very last TSA interaction was one where the agent was joking with coworkers and passengers. I was pretty impressed given the situation they are in.

  52. My late friend (another Canadian, like me, but unlike me, a student of American history) once said to me “if you look at the constitutional structure of the United States of America, you’ll realize that it doesn’t make sense. It can’t possibly work. Compared to a Westminster Parliamentary system with a hereditary figurehead sovereign, it’s impossibly complex. And yet, they somehow always muddle through”. I wonder what he’d make of the current situation.

    It’s easy for us foreigners to be smug and laugh. But it’s not actually funny, is it? Too much suffering. Too much power in the hands of people who don’t care about the suffering of this group, or that class, of people.

    Is Government Shutdown a uniquely American thing? If it’s a really really bad idea (suffering, remember?) then…. why isn’t it preventable?

    “We love the undereducated!” – Donald J Trump, while running for President

  53. There are numerous 0% interest loans available for those of us affected. My boss sent me a bunch of them, and ranked them in order of his preference.

    Save the leave. Use the loans.

  54. Trump only cares about himself and his three children. Melania and Tiffany are not included in the family and have no role in the organization. Trump cabinet is a C-Team, based on an inflated grade system, so the exodus of the experts and long time civil servants only reinforces his intent to weaken and paralyze the US government, at home and abroad. Didn’t Reagan compel the court to order the air traffic controllers back to work when they were on strike? If we do not want illicit drugs to cross the border, then arrest all drug traffickers and consumers and parachute them on the deserted island to co-exist together and allow us to live in a safe and healthy society: If there is no demand there is no supply. Nobody dares to discuss about native born/ home grown terrorists but everybody whips up about Mid-East terrorists. People, who lend unconditional and unequivocal support to and vote the obstructionists in the office, cherish and deepen the chaos and paralysis the country is in. It is incomprehensible and inexplicable as to why people continue to vote for the Republican Party when history shows what it inflicts on the country: recessions, deficits, wage stagnation, resistance to equal opportunity and advancement of the non-whites and non-heterosexuals, and most of all the illegal misconducts that threaten and weaken the foundation of US values, strength and national security, Voters should demand their elected representatives to suffer what they subject us to: no wage, no healthcare coverage, and term limits.

  55. Putting political differences aside, my personal experience traveling last week, I saw no shortage of TSA agents in both airports. In fact, there were too many as usual standing around and doing nothing. Maybe it’s just the two airports I was at and all others are short of TSA workers.

  56. globetrotter,

    Well said. Here is something that should be enough for some people but apparently not for half of this country. Tells you enough about their motives.

    ttps://mobile.twitter.com/biasbustersofks/status/1087003625065451521/photo/1

  57. @callum are really that dim? CONGRESS HAS NOT PASSED A BUDGET that POTUS could sign. So nice try. POTUS proposes a budget, Congress tweeks it.

    Congress created the budget process. It is supposed to follow these four steps:

    The Executive Office of Management and Budget prepares the budget.
    The president submits it to Congress on or before the first Monday in February.
    Congress responds with spending appropriation bills that go to the president by June 30.
    The president has 10 days to reply.

    Since the FY 2010 budget, Congress has only followed the budget process twice.

    The hard deadline for budget approval is September 30. If Congress doesn’t approve it by then, the government can shut down. It did just that in 2013, January 2018 and in December 2018. To avoid that, Congress usually passes continuing resolutions. They keep the government running at spending levels of the last budget. If the government does shut down, it signals a complete breakdown in the budget process.

    So heres the BUDGET FOR FY18: Since you are confusing the CR Trump happily rejected and the budget HE proposed and never was passed.
    https://www.thebalance.com/fy-2018-trump-federal-budget-request-4158794

  58. @Steve~ Are you talking about the same POTUS who loudly proclaimed at the beginning of this fiasco that he was proud to be the one to close down government? As for the rest of your published tripe, better steer clear of #factcheck .

  59. Trump was elected President because the American people wanted someone to “shake things up”. Americans were TIRED of traditional politicians’ “same old, same old bu*****t”. TIRED of the Pelosi & Schumer kind of politician. TRUMP is doing a good job of shaking things up. Trump does BS just like traditional politicians, but his BS is easy to see. Sometimes it’s very funny, because he does not have the smooth-talking BS practice of a traditional politician (like Obama or Bill Clinton). I think Trump will be re-elected in 2020. We will see…..

  60. Any unemployment money furloughed workers get will have to be paid back once the shutdown ends. No one is getting a ‘bonus’.

    The people who are working without pay are not free to do other jobs, but still need to pay the rent/mortgage, electric, gas, etc. We will EVENTUALLY be paid, but the creditors want the mortgage/rent on time.

  61. Your government should look at how other advanced countries parliaments handle approvals for government spending. While you have a worn-out system which virtually allows hostage-taking at the whim of a madman, you’re stuffed.

  62. Just returned from an Atlanta – Albuquerque round trip
    TSA at both airports was just fine. At Albuquerque they were even friendly and making small talk. No lines either.

    Sorry, no politics in this post.

  63. You nailed it actually, Lucky. Tone deaf, overly fluffy people who aren’t cognizant of different people’s economic situation, plus different personalities.

    It’s also a common reason Americans are made fun of abroad. Too much fluff, small talk, gushing with “thanks” to everything to the point “be thankful” begins to lose meaning.

  64. I don’t work for the gov’t, but receivables for my employer have been pathetic for the past year. As a result, I’m owed 5-figures. Due to the nature of our business, sometimes the business won’t be paid for up to 3 years from the start of a job. Living well below one’s means and building up a healthy amount of savings is good practice no matter who the employer or job.

    @Dee: Not true, some gov’t agencies are indeed issuing bonuses. I believe TSA is one of them.

  65. Not quite AD. The Government of the day was dismissed on the recommendation of the Governor General, not the entire parliament. Interestingly, it was the conservative side of politics who engineered that fiasco. It was a blatant grab for power that history records as being just that, and unwarranted. The conservatives lackey, the Governor General, died an unloved man, reviled to this day for his actions. That was more than 43 years ago.

  66. I’ve been getting to airports early just in case PreCheck is closed or the checkpoint is otherwise understaffed, and I’ve yet to encounter a problem. Last week DFW, MSY, MSP, SFO and ABQ were business as usual. And DEN is always a mess anyway.

    And this country is screwed. We had a nice run, though.

  67. The saddest part of this whole thing is how FEW are really suffering.
    If the gov’t isn’t paying bills, then not one check should go out and the politicians would never let this happen in the first place.

  68. I learned not to say “thank you for your service” to members of the military, but rather “never forget.” Along those lines, I’ve been saying “I’m with you” to the TSA agents, instead of “thanks for working.”

  69. For sure I have sympathy for these guys having to work with out pay but, it’s in their employment contract that they agreed to and signed off on when they got hired so they knew it was a possibility, or even probability that this was going to happen.

    For many, many, many of the non essential gov’t workers a gov’t shutdown is a great. Don’t have to go to work because of their employer’s cash flow issues and eventually get paid for the “time off”. I’d take that deal any day of the week.

    If you don’t like the terms of employment then find a job elsewhere, like in the private sector.

  70. @Jetset-I agree that I’ve noticed passengers are more patient and empathetic than “business” as usual”. I think that makes it all much better. Plus I’ve also noticed less children flyingbut that’s just seasonality

  71. Democrats need to come together with POTUS to end this shutdown!!! why are they so persistent in going against border security? ugh.

  72. We should say “I’m sorry this is happening to you. I have sent a request to Mitch McConnell’s office that he allows House bills to come to the Senate floor so that government can be reopened and so that you get paid. It’s wrong for you to work without pay.”

    Also, we have rearranged our business plans over the next several weeks to not fly. If there is a walkout and more airport turmoil, we are preventing problems that could occur.

  73. First, @Steve, you are completely mistaken as to how our government works. Yes the President submitted a budget last year, however the House and the Senate both have to approve the budget. The House has put forward a budget, voted on it and passed it, and the SENATE refuses to even consider that budget even for a perfunctory vote of nay. Ostensibly this is done because they know the President will veto that budget since it does not include funding for the border wall. Checks and balances are supposed to work by different parts of the government getting to weigh in on issues from different perspectives. The issue is the lack of agreement on funding the wall, and the Senate’s refusal to vote on the budget Congress passed. The legislative body should not be beholden to the executive, but it is because party solidarity is winning out over what is best for the average citizen and our government.

    Secondly, from personal experience I had a nice chat with my TSA pre-check agent. When I thanked him he sort of laughed and said ‘yeah, what can you do’ and I stated I get my funding as a contractor to the government and this was my last fully funded trip and after this I was grounded until the budget is passed and he said, ‘yeah you are really screwed’. So I think it made him happy to know that some folks are potentially even worse off 🙂 Whatever makes someone smile during trying times is good.

    Finally, I know you can donate grocery and gas cards of around $20 to affected airport personnel but I wasn’t sure how to do so or make sure they get to the TSA agents versus air traffic controllers. Any insight? Thanks for a great article Lucky!

  74. @coolhandluke, My point was that it did happen and that it worked out so badly that no one ever tried it again, not to deconstruct the detailed mechanics of the Australian government. I’m not an Australian citizen, nor have I worked for or studied the Australian government. In this case, I literally know what I read in the Wa Post. I’ll leave the details to you but let’s not lose the point of my post in the rebuttal.

  75. @Lucky – Pulling politics into the miles & points world is a huge turn off. Much prefer it’s not brought into your content – it does nothing but divide. The comments from this post are perfect evidence.

  76. @Steve – So yes, you are that dim. He COULD sign that budget, there’s absolutely nothing stopping him. In fact, he said he would sign it.

    Then Fox News mocked him for being weak so, being the thin skinned slime ball he is, he changed his mind. You’re pathetic, he’s pathetic – two peas in a pod!

  77. @Lucky – We will have to start holding you to the same standard as you want to hold @Eli to. YOUR quote:
    •TSA agents are trying to find side gigs that will get them paid ASAP.

    Could you, LUCKY, PLEASE share your source now? I doubt you’ll have one – unless it is CNN ! It is against most government employment rules to have a second job without your agency’s approval – regardless of shutdowns.

  78. @AD Just another point on the constitutiona and historical niceties of the 1975 Dismissal of the Australian Government.

    In fact the Australian Government never shut down, the Whitlam Government was dismissed on the 11th, the budget passed in the senate, and writs were issued for an election. It was forecast that money would run out on the 27th November.

    There is a lot of debate (even now) about the appropriateness of Governor Genera Kerr’s dismissal (“well may we say god save the queen, because nothing will save the Governor General”), but the action was taken to ensure “supply” of money.

    There are basically two things a potential government needs in a Westminster system to seek a commission from the Crown to form a government: the confidence of the house, and the guarantee of supply.

    If you lack these in the normal course of events you should resign your commission, the crown would determine if there was anyone else able to govern, and in the absence of an alternative call an election.

  79. Those of you who are worried about the financial situation of the TSA agents, go log into ANY bank’s website and read whatever that bank’s message to government employees is. From the sound of things, any bank that had a government employee as a customer prior to the shutdown will work with them to ensure they can keep their bills paid and not suffer from overdraft fees and such. Anyone who had good credit and a good banking relationship prior to the shutdown should have no problem weathering it, even if it lasts several months, without it negatively impacting their metrics once its over.

    Of course, that doesn’t help the anti-bank types and the financially irresponsible ones who have long ago exhausted all of their good-will options and are resigned to cashing their paychecks at check cashing places. To them, all I can say is that it’s important to plan ahead for rainy days, and if their plan was to rely on the government to bail them out when times get tough, maybe this should be a lesson on why that assumption is folly.

    Maybe this is a good time to encourage the shifting of TSA responsibility back to the airports. I realize that in the wake of 9/11 it was important to provide at least the illusion that the federal government had implemented an iron grip on airline security. Screeners’ salaries do not need to be filtered through the bureaucracy.

  80. @lucky
    Despite the rise in employee absences, TSA stressed the national average wait times are within its normal range of about 30 minutes for standard lanes and 10 minutes for pre-check – although some airports had longer average times.

    So 10% supposedly call out sick yet airports still running efficiently…

  81. I thanked all of them before my BA flight from JFK Saturday morning. I asked also if there was a fund to which I could donate. They seemed nearly ebullient, even at 6:30AM, and one TSA woman led me to the TSA head for T7. He also thanked me and gave me his card, telling me to please contact him should I need anything. Wow. Go TSA!

  82. I think this article is over exaggerated. The reason people thank the TSA agent when they are given their ID back is not to thank them for doing their job but rather in response to having checked their credentials and to returning their documents. While we should respect such officers we also have to keep in mind many of these agents do create unnecessary situations for passengers AND there is almost no way to complain because they are government employees. It’s not like a company.

  83. It takes a special kind of ungrateful to get upset with someone for thanking you. What are we supposed to do about you me getting paid? We can’t personally pay your bills for you. All people wanted to do was show you some empathy and gratefulness, but I suppose if you’re working in the TSA you are only happy if you are making other people miserable

  84. To all tsa coastguards that we’re affect by the shut down first thank you for your service, I just realized something, I know why he reopened the government temporarily, because the money from the super bowl, now he’s threatening again. I don’t know who, but he should be arrested, for treason having private meetings with Putin and holding our government hostage, for his political issues, I call that a dictators, if he shuts it down again close the airports, etc. and again thank you for your service but enough is enough, stop him. Please .

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