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Wait Times At Chicago Airports Drop Precipitously As TSA Does Its Job

By Stephen Gossett in News on Aug 23, 2016 4:00PM

Courtesy City of Chicago

New numbers show that the hellishly long, meltdown-inducing airport waits with which we grew painfully familiar early this summer appear to be a thing of the past in Chicago, at least according to Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office.

According to TSA Performance Reports that the city shared in a press release on Tuesday, the average peak wait time at O’Hare fell by 90 percent, from 105 minutes in May (!) to seven minutes last month. Midway dropped from a slightly less eye-gougingly long 65-minute average peak wait in May down to 10 minutes.

The average wait time (non-peak) at O’Hare fell from 15 minutes in May to two minutes; while Midway figures showed a decrease from 11 minutes to four minutes.

The mayor appeared at O’Hare on Tuesday morning to discuss improvements, alongside Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner Ginger S. Evans and TSA Administrator Peter Neffeneger. They credited increased staffing and canine units plus weekly inter-agency meetings to refine staffing needs. (What a plan. Whodathunkit?) Between O’Hare and Midway, more than 150 officers were added since May and nearly 300 part-time screening personnel were made full-time, according to the report.

Of course, before everybody gets too winded during today’s victory lap, it’s worth remembering that this whole nationwide mess probably should have been caught long before it metastasized, especially in regards to the TSA. It was a combination of heightened security measures, low staffing and the right-on-time uptick in summer travel that led to the huge lines—all of which could have been foreseen.

With that presumably in mind, Congresswoman Robin Kelly spoke of the need to remaining watchful of future issues. “We need to consider federal legislation to prevent serious security issues from occurring in the future,” she said in a press release. For the sake of all our backs and feet, lets hope so.