CHICAGO (CBS) — Faced with excruciatingly long lines at security checkpoints, the TSA is dispatching 58 new security officers and four bomb-sniffing canine teams to O’Hare International Airport, according to U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin.
The move comes as officials at the Chicago Department of Aviation advised anyone flying out of O’Hare or Midway International Airport to show up three hours before their flight’s scheduled departure time. That’s even longer than the two-hour cushion the TSA has suggested for domestic flights, although the TSA recommends arriving three hours early for international flights.
At 6 a.m. Tuesday, the Chicago Department of Aviation sent out messages on its Twitter accounts for O’Hare and Midway, advising travelers about unusually long lines for security.
“It’s been a miserable situation; a real meltdown,” Durbin said of the increasingly long security lines at airports across the U.S.
The senator said he has spoken to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson about the massive delays at Chicago’s airports, and was assured the TSA is moving quickly to train and hire more officers nationwide. He also said the TSA will soon send 58 new security officers and four additional bomb-sniffing canine teams to O’Hare, which is routinely one of the three busiest airports in the U.S.
“They’re going to be coming to us in the next few weeks, so I don’t want to tell people this is an overnight change,” Durbin said.
However, something else is happening right away, according to Durbin.
“TSA people in Washington are sending out a management team immediately to deal with the situation on the ground, to see if there are ways to make this more efficient,” he said.
Durbin blamed poor “planning and inadequate funding” for the security delays at airports across the country.