In all the news stories about super long lines at some airports, there is little in the way of discussion as to why the lines are long in the first place.
There has been some talk about the need to hire more TSA “screeners” (they are really searchers, but use the term screeners to dodge the Constitutional issue), but I think that is just a dodge.
If you travel much, you can observe that most TSA checkpoints are way overstaffed. I’ve been through numerous checkpoints, and there are maybe three people actually in contact with travelers: the ID checker, the x-ray machine runner, and the strip-search machine viewer. In almost every case, there are other TSA people standing and watching those three people.
In OKC, the last time I flew, there were three ID checkers, and two other TSA people standing behind them and watching them. There were two people who told everyone over and over to remove their shoes and such. The strip-search machine operator had a second person watching the first person (and the damn machine identified the back of my head as a threat, which got me a full-body pat-down). There were two x-rays operating, and each had a second person watching then operator.
There were others hanging about the screening area generally watching, I think about four.
So why does TSA apparently not trust the people who don’t trust the travelers? There is so much TSA could do, for example get rid of the strip-search machines, which are slow and alert on stupid stuff like wrinkles in socks, every one of which get’s you a patdown, which further slows the line.
It’s not really about security to them. Remember the lady in OKC who went through “security” wearing a bikini? She was denied boarding. She clearly had no weapons, so it clearly was retaliation for her making a statement. The million-dollar strip search machines alert on a piece of paper in your pocket. Where’s the threat? The magnetometers are good enough for Pre-Check people, why are they not good enough for everyone? They are known technology, far less expensive, and faster.
TSA is a disaster. The strip-search machines probably got some people promoted and made a hell of a lot of money for some contractor, and still are making money for the contractor to maintain them, but they didn’t increase security one bit. If they did, they would be used for Pre-Check as well. TSA also ought to have more lanes open, and stop using TSA people to watch TSA people.
Their lack of accountability is astounding. Congress, where are you?