Durbin Statement on TSA Security During Memorial Day Holiday Weekend

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today made the following statement as travelers head to airports around the country to take advantage of the Memorial Day holiday weekend.  Last Friday, Durbin convened a meeting with Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) Administrator Peter Neffenger, airline representatives and federal, state and local officials at O’Hare International Airport to discuss new measures to address the massive delays at airport security lines across the country and especially in Chicago.
“Memorial Day is going to be the first real test of the summer for TSA which has made significant changes at Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway airports over the last couple of weeks to deal with the long lines and excessive wait times,” said Durbin.  “I spoke with Administrator Neffenger yesterday and he told me he believes that with new leadership in charge, dozens of additional screeners and more canine teams, TSA is ready for the rush over the holiday weekend.  If Illinoisans continue to encounter problems with security lines over the weekend, I urged them to let me know through social media – Twitter and Facebook – or by going to my website and send me an email through the contact form.”
At the urging of Durbin and other officials, TSA agreed to provide 58 extra TSA officers to O’Hare immediately and 225 more by August 15th.  TSA will shift 100 staffers from part-time to full-time employment.  Durbin has also advocated for additional canine teams and TSA has committed a total of six to O’Hare and Midway airports.  Finally, Durbin has called on the airlines to suspend baggage fees through the summer travel season to reduce carry-ons and screening delays while encouraging more options for travelers to sign up for TSA PreCheck.
In a letter to Neffenger yesterday Durbin wrote: “In the Chicago metro area, there are currently no TSA PreCheck appointments available at any location in the Chicago metro area with a wait time less than 45 days or on weekends.  Many hopeful applicants have reported waiting hours for a walk-in appointment only to be turned away at close of business.  I urge TSA to work with its contractors to ramp up staff at PreCheck appointment locations, increase the number of PreCheck locations during peak travel seasons, and provide additional flexibility for applicants by providing back-to-back appointments and extended hours to accommodate more working families.”
A copy of yesterday’s letter can be found HERE.