TSA shrinking wait times at O'Hare and Midway

 
 
Updated 6/7/2016 11:43 PM

Waits in security lines at O'Hare and Midway International airports have dropped significantly since mid-May, the TSA said Tuesday.

But it still makes sense to get to the airport early in case you're among the minority of travelers in a line lasting more than 30 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

On Monday, "more than 99 percent of passengers experienced waits of less than 30 minutes; 93 percent of passengers experienced waits of less than 15 minutes," TSA spokesman Michael S. McCarthy said Tuesday.

Warrenville businessman Christopher Lyon arrived at O'Hare early Monday morning for a flight to Detroit and found himself with three hours to kill.

"I allowed an extra hour only to find the shortest line I've ever seen. Hopefully, this isn't an election-year solution," Lyon said via email. "Not sure if I'm willing to count on (the) TSA for being consistent, but the extra sleep would have been nice."

Can passengers exhale yet at O'Hare International Airport with relatively faster security lines?
Can passengers exhale yet at O'Hare International Airport with relatively faster security lines? - Daily Herald File Photo

Back on May 15, security checkpoint waits surpassed 2 hours at O'Hare, resulting in 795 people missing American Airlines flights in Chicago. The agency blamed staffing shortages.

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The O'Hare meltdown and marathon lines at Midway caught on a viral video got the attention of Chicago's mayor and Sens. Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk, who lobbied for more screeners.

Before Memorial Day, 58 additional TSA officers were deployed and at least 170 part-timers switched to full-time at Chicago's airports.

In early May, the average security line wait at peak times was 105 minutes at O'Hare and 65 minutes at Midway.

Staffing at O'Hare decreased from more than 2,000 employees in 2012 to 1,932 in 2015. At Midway, the tally was 471 TSA staff members in 2015 compared to nearly 600 in 2005, the TSA reported.

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