As the longest government shutdown in U.S. history inches toward its fifth week, airports across the country are taking a hit.
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Last week, more than 51,000 people employed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) went without pay, despite being required to work because they’re deemed “essential” federal employees.
As a result, more TSA agents are calling out sick, while others have quit their jobs entirely. Unscheduled absences have increased to 6.8 percent, compared to 2.5 percent during the same period last year as of Jan. 15, according to the agency.
For the TSA employees, the 27-day shutdown has caused “extreme financial hardships”, according to the American Federation of Government Employees, the largest federal employee union. And for some travelers, it’s wreaking havoc on wait times.
Here’s a look at airports that have said the shutdown is impacting their everyday operations.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport:
The world’s busiest airport said on Monday that wait times for security were “longer than usual”. It advised people to arrive three hours in order to clear security (airports normally suggest travelers arrive two hours early for domestic flights).
Miami International Airport:
On Saturday and Sunday, a security checkpoint was closed for hours as a precaution in case TSA call-outs increased.
Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport:
The Texas airport closed a terminal in response to “staffing issues” caused by the government shutdown. The airport closed Terminal B, shifting passengers instead to Terminal C or E. Officials also advised that travelers arrive early to “plenty of time” for the change.