Brits visiting Florida to be hit by more travel misery due to TSA shortage at the airport
With Transport Security Administration (TSA) agents already quitting across the country, Miami International Airport has announced that it will be shutting one of its terminals down early due to security staff shortage.
According to the Miami Herald, due to staff shortage, the airport will be closing a terminal early for three days from this weekend.
TSA agents are said to be calling in sick at double the normal rate for the airport and managers don't think they will have enough staff to cover all the security checkpoints.
Airports in New York, Atlanta and Washington have also faced long queues, despite TSA itself claiming that impact has been minimal.
TSA agents have been working without pay since before Christmas.
Many have called in sick since – and now some are even quitting.
Hydrick Thomas, TSA council president for the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), said in a statement on the union website: "Every day I’m getting calls from my members about their extreme financial hardships and need for a paycheck.
"Some of them have already quit and many are considering quitting the federal workforce because of this shutdown."
Much longer queues at security, delayed flights and even problems with air traffic safety could all become a reality.
Mr Thomas explained how it posed a "massive security risk" as other workers such as Air Traffic Control were also affected.
Visitors to the US have been significantly impacted by the government shutdown since it started at the end of last year.
As well as ESTAs not being approved and national parks being shut, airports are also now seeing the effects of the shutdown.
Passengers travelling through airports have been warned to allow extra time to board their flight in case of long queues and delays.
Travellers on social media expressed their concerns surrounding the shutdown and how it could affect their plans while others said that they were being delayed.
Many were on the side of the TSA agents, saying they could not be expected to work without pay, especially when including travel and childcare costs.
Actor Seth Rogen even tweeted what a TSA agent told him after asking how he was: "Just working at the TSA, where dreams go to die," which quickly went viral.
According to the TSA, they once had 47,000 officers helping 740 million passengers a year – there are now 44,000 officers with 851 million passengers travelling through.
In 2014, just 373 people joined the agency while 4,644 left TSA.
However, TSA spokesman Michael Bilello told Politico another 500 new officers had started work last week.
The government shutdown started on December 22 following President Donald Trump's US-Mexico border dispute, with no signs of it ending as it enters its third week.
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