Travelers finding ways around long airport security lines

Travelers trying to avoid long lines
(Christian Flores | WBTV)
(Christian Flores | WBTV)

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - As we head into the summer, long security lines at the airport have become the norm, but travelers are doing anything they can to get to their gates as quickly as possible.

Charlotte Douglas International Airport is advising travelers to arrive at least two hours early for their flight during Memorial Day weekend.

The Transportation Security Administration, or TSA, expects 220 million people to head to fly out of airports this summer, which would be a record. They blame the long security lines on the increased number of travelers.

"I've seen people try to pay people to skip line," said Nate Askew, who was flying out of Charlotte Douglas Tuesday evening.

Travelers have become fed up with these long lines.

"Just lines that are not moving. Under-staffing is the biggest problem that I've seen," said John Krepelka.

Krepelka says he shows up to airports two hours early for all of his flights, and sometimes earlier depending on the airport. However, in order to move through these lines faster, he, along with many other travelers, will soon apply for TSA PreCheck - also known as TSA Pre.

A TSA Pre clearance expedites security check-in, allowing travelers to go through security lines without having to remove their shoes, or take their laptop out of their backpacks.

But for travelers living in Charlotte, it could be a while before getting clearance. In order to get TSA Pre, you have to set up an interview with TSA. In Charlotte Douglas, there are almost 1500 interviews scheduled over the next 45 days. You do not have to go to the airport for the interview, but for some locations, you won't be able to meet with TSA until late June or early July at the earliest.

Krepelka's daughter, Suzanne, already has TSA Pre clearance.

"It's a 15-minute interview, and that would pay off in just one trip. I'm excited to hopefully move through the lines faster," Krepelka said.

Krepelka might be in luck. After the head of TSA security operations was removed from his position Monday, many feared already long security lines would only grow.

Jeh Johnson, the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, says he and the TSA are working to find a solution.

"We are aggressively bringing on, expediting the hiring of more TSO's," Johnson said.

Just last week, the TSA hired more officers to assist in expediting security lines.

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