SEA-TAC INT’L AIRPORT, Wash. - The partial government shutdown is causing new concerns for air travel.
At Sea-Tac Airport, Transportation Security Administration officers are showing the strains of working without a paycheck and some are threatening to quit. That could end up hurting air travelers if security checkpoints turn into "chokepoints."
Because the government considers them “essential,” TSA officers remain on the job during the federal shutdown. However, the local union president said that may not last.
“If they don't get a check within two weeks, they have to make a decision whether to get a job somewhere else or get a part time job or quit TSA altogether,” said Cairo D’Almeida, the AFGE Local 1121 President.
Many TSA workers have families to support and bills to pay. If they quit that could reduce the number of checkpoint screening lanes available for passengers.
“I just think that the lines would be longer and I don't really like to wait in line so I'd be bummed,” said Merina Rainville, who was flying to California.
In a tweet, TSA addressed reports of sick calls at other airports around the country, saying "security effectiveness will not be compromised and performance standards will not change. Wait times may be affected."
Air travelers said the politics being played in Washington, D.C. is frustrating.
“If the president is so concerned about security, he ought to be thinking about what the impact of his steps are on airport security,” said Joe Rubio.