ATLANTA - Lines are moving a lot faster at the world's busiest airport, but that wasn't the case for travelers earlier Monday.
Some passengers complained of wait times lasting several hours, with lines stretching from security through the atrium and baggage claim most of the morning.
Airport officials are now warning passengers to arrive at least three hours early to get through security.
#ATL is experiencing longer than usual wait times during peak travel. Please plan ahead and give yourself 3 hours to clear security. ✈️— Atlanta Airport (@ATLairport) January 14, 2019
With the partial government shutdown, TSA workers are currently not getting paid, but no officials would attribute the delays to the government shutdown, currently in its 24th day. Hundreds of federal workers missed their first paycheck on Friday.
"This morning we saw our normal rush of the thousands of passengers who were screening on through, plus we think there may have been a few call outs. You'll have to talk to TSA about potential call outs but the combination of the two led to longer than normal lines," airport spokesperson Andrew Gobeil told Channel 2's Nicole Carr.
Carr followed developments throughout the day at Hartsfield-Jackson, where air traffic controllers spoke personally with passengers.
"The message isn't 'Hey, this might happen.' It's real. The shutdown's gotta end. It's no longer a political issue now. It's a human issue," controller Dan McCade told Carr.
As the morning went on, lines improved slightly, but wait times were still more than an hour, according to people in line.
Atlanta Airport 11:10 a.m. -Lines on the outskirts of the atrium are moving more frequently now. They’re split on either side of the escalators . Folks still saying they’ve been in line for more than an hour. @wsbtv @ATLairport pic.twitter.com/oaz53OyKrc— Nicole Carr (@NicoleCarrWSB) January 14, 2019
When asked about the issues on Twitter, the Atlanta airport directed travelers to contact the Transportation Safety Administration about the lines.
We're sorry for any inconvenience. We'll let TSA management know. You can also contact TSA directly via https://t.co/WjLb4ugwaK, via e-mail at TSA-ContactCenter@tsa.dhs.gov, or through their social media at @AskTSA *NA— Atlanta Airport (@ATLairport) January 14, 2019
A TSA official tweeted that they are exercising a contingency plan.
Currently, Miami International Airport, George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Washington-Dulles International Airport are exercising their contingency plans to uphold aviation security standards.— Michael Bilello (@TSA_Bilello) January 14, 2019
Carr reached out to several airlines, who reported minimal rebookings but encouraged passengers to continue arriving as early as possible.
Delta also responded to customers, telling them they are working with the TSA and the Department of Homeland Security to help "minimize potential impact."
Aaron, I apologize for the inconvenience, Delta is working closely with the Department of Homeland Security and TSA to minimize any potential impact to our customers. Please provide your confirmation number and I'll be happy to review your reservation. *AKB— Delta (@Delta) January 14, 2019
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