Air travelers are dealing with some of the longest lines airport security has ever seen, and airlines are reporting record numbers for the upcoming summer travel season–meaning these already tedious lines are about to get a lot worse.
Chicago’s two airports have been warning passengers to arrive three hours before their flight time for domestic travel, while the Port Authority of NY and NJ (who run the airports in New York City and Newark, New Jersey) are threatening to hire private companies to curb the disaster that has overtaken airport security. Millions of passengers have missed flights due to the extremely long lines, and much of this madness can be attributed to the Department of Homeland Security lowering the number of TSA agents over the years.
Enter the bomb sniffing dogs.
The TSA is bringing in trained canines to help alleviate the crowds and shorten wait times. While the dogs are being used to sniff passengers in the Pre-Check lines, agents are bringing in non Pre-Check passengers into the “faster” lanes in order to make room. They estimate that the dogs can screen an additional 5,000 passengers per day. Currently, the canines are being used at the nation’s busiest airports, with five stationed in Chicago.
American Airlines is even looking into funding more dogs, since hundreds of their passengers have missed flights recently. The company’s spokesperson said the canines are helping a negative situation become a lot less stressful for everyone involved.
The one downside to this is that the dogs take nine months to train, thus prolonging the process of getting new canines in the airports. Dogs also have to be recertified every year.
TSA says they will be hiring more than 750 new agents by the end of this month.