TSA promises changes to ease long wait times at airport security

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DENVER -- Cutbacks at the Transportation Security Administration nationwide have led to many long delays, missed flights and angry passengers in recent months, but as the busy summer travel season approaches, the TSA and Department of Homeland Security are taking steps to fix the problem.

In a statement released Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security announced it is moving forward with several changes.

"It's hit or miss," said Susannah Moore, who flies regularly with her family out of Denver International Airport. “Sometimes it takes five to 10 minutes, other times I’ve been here where it’s half an hour.”

“I’ve stood in line an hour before,” said Kevin Walker of Denver.

In recent months, some travelers at DIA waited even longer because of security backups. Many people missed flights after waiting in long lines during the holiday season and the problem continued during some early-morning and red-eye flights in 2016.

According the the Chicago Tribune, TSA has cut back staffing by 10 percent in the past few years, which is why it’s no surprise what travelers would suggest as a fix.

“Make sure there’s more agents available I guess,” Moore said.

According to the latest announcement, the TSA plans to increase staffing this summer. The increase will also include more canine teams to speed screening.

The second step outlined to improve speed involves TSA Pre-Check. The TSA aims to increase outreach about the program and enrollment. The effort will also include reaching out to more businesses in hopes they will help reimburse employees who sign up.

“Pre-Check is definitely the way to go,” Walker said. “I used to dread flying because I hated going through this whole system.”

Walker said he has never waited more than 15 minutes with Pre-Check, which is why he says it’s worth the $85 price tag for a five-year pass.

“I think more people should take advantage of it,” he said.

But the cost of convenience is still a sticking point for many, especially families.

“It would be nice if there were a family option included with the Pre-Check," Moore said. "To be able to have a discount for family travel.”

The TSA is also reportedly working on a third step, calling on airlines and airport staff to help with support services when lines get long. The plan would call for non-TSA employees to assist with moving bins and other nonsecurity-related tasks to help keep lines moving.

DIA officials said they have offered their support to TSA to assist in those cases.