One of the busiest holiday travel periods is about to start this week with the potential of a government shutdown looming as the Transportation Security Administration expects to screen 30 million passengers between Friday and Nov. 28.
TSA said Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday afterward are the busiest travel days.
TSA agents at the Jacksonville International Airport are hoping to alleviate some of that travel stress by keeping wait times for standard passengers under 30 minutes and under 10 minutes for TSA precheck passengers.
Traveling isn’t always smooth sailing, especially as we head to what some call the most wonderful time of the year — the holiday season.
Marva Warmington told News4JAX that she did not encounter any problems with her travels from Kansas City, Mo. to Atlanta, Georgia then to her final destination… the River City.
But for other travelers such as Kassidy Lankford, that wasn’t the case.
“Getting back to Jacksonville was kind of a nightmare because our flight was delayed by several hours and we sat on the tarmac for another hour, so it was quite a chaotic day of travel for us,” she said.
Warmington said she is not seeing an increase in traffic at the airport just yet, but she is glad that she won’t be traveling next week.
Lankford traveled out of Jacksonville to Philadelphia, Pa., and back in a few days. She said the airport was busier than she’d ever seen it before.
“It took forever in Jacksonville to get out of TSA coming back from Philly,” Lankford said. “Not too bad, their airport is pretty efficient, but it took forever here on Thursday when we flew out. Almost missed our flight, we made it with 30 seconds to spare.”
That experience made Lankford rethink her travel plans in a few weeks.
“We were very close to missing our flight and I’ll be getting here an hour earlier than I think I need to next time,” she said.
The Jacksonville airport has made some changes in the layout since last year, so TSA agents advise passengers to build more time into their travel plans.
TSA said to streamline the process, make sure not to bring liquids over 3.4 ounces through security checkpoints, have an ID out and ready during screening, and be aware of new checkpoint technology.
Also, it’s important to ensure no weapons are brought through security. If caught with a firearm at a TSA checkpoint, the maximum civil penalty can be nearly $15,000.
It’s not clear if the government will shut down on Friday, but TSA workers are considered essential and would have to continue working without pay until a shutdown is over.