Passenger passes TSA screening, boards flight with gun

Anna Jefferson
January 14, 2019

Even though the workers are eligible to receive back pay once the shutdown is over, many live paycheck to paycheck and have reported experiencing financial hardship.

"TSA only has what it has", said Christopher Bidwell, the vice president for security at the trade group Airports Council International-North America, "and although they have advised us that they are continuing to hire and train, we are very concerned about a prolonged government shutdown".

An XNA official told 5NEWS that wait times for passengers and the work ethic of staff members not now being paid hasn't significantly changed so far.

TSA employees called in sick in higher numbers on Saturday, the day after their first missed paycheck since the USA government wound down on December 22.

This may make TSA employees who are not getting their regular paychecks during the partial government shutdown feel a bit better - the agency's administrator David Pekoske announced on Twitter that he has approved a $500 bonus for each uniformed screening officer.

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Dobberstein said he talked to about 20 different airports this week and they were reporting normal wait times in the TSA lines.

"TSA officers are among the lowest paid federal employees, with many living paycheck-to-paycheck", Thompson wrote.

Miami International, the nation's 25th-busiest airport, plans to close off Concourse G at 1 p.m. for the next three days and shift a dozen flights a day to other terminals.

In a before a federal court in Washington, DC the NTEU is arguing that the 1982 Antideficiency Act - under which the government shutdowns happen when Congress fails to appropriate funding for federal programs - is itself unconstitutional because it allows the executive branch to compel employees to work in emergencies.

Boettcher said it's important for travelers to keep in mind to arrive early for flights, especially at larger airports.

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The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) filed a lawsuit on Friday, accusing the White House of depriving their members "of their hard-earned compensation without the requisite due process".

Airports also are bracing for flight delays.

"Security effectiveness will not be compromised and performance standards will not change".

About 10,000 air traffic controllers under the Federal Aviation Administration continue to work without pay.

Brad Boettcher, with Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport, said those issues haven't popped up locally. "We're still advising people an hour or 90 minutes is probably best here, but in those larger airports at least give yourself a couple hours from when you check in to being able to get through the checkpoint".

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Other airports across the country have not received the same feedback following the shutdown.

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