Travel insights from Andrea Sedlacek, editor of The Compass

Is the Government Shutdown Affecting Travelers’ TSA Experience?

The government shutdown began on Dec. 22 and the actual impact on air travel and airport security throughout the U.S. varies from source to source. Naturally, everyone has a different perspective on what’s actually happening.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is impacted by the government shutdown since it is a division of the Department of Homeland Security, which is not currently being funded. Therefore the TSA website has not been updated since Dec. 21, application approvals for TSA Pre Check may be delayed and, what you’ve probably seen most in the news, TSA employees are currently working without pay. The last point is causing some panic amongst travelers, but according to tweets from Michael Bilello, TSA’s assistant administrator of public affairs, this has had minimal impact on travelers’ airport experiences as well as flight safety.

He also shared some recent statistics:

But if the shutdown continues for even a few more weeks, TSA employees could start calling in sick or quitting at a higher rate, potentially impacting TSA staffing. Eben Peck, ASTA’s executive vice president of advocacy, recently told Travel Weekly that “if airport security screening operations are really impacted, that could cause people to start canceling trips.”

To help keep spirits up during this period of unknown, travelers are encouraging others to thanks TSA agents for their service during the shutdown.

On January 10, the TSA employees at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, CT were treated to lunch by Southwest Airlines employees, to show their support for their fellow airport workers during this potentially tough time.

Do you have an experience with TSA during the government shutdown that you want to share? Tell us in the comments below.

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