MIAMI: Travelers who had braced for long lines and long waits were instead moving through most U.S. airports fairly quickly Monday, as the busy Memorial Day travel weekend drew to a close.
“Honestly it wasn’t too bad,” said Kendra Morehead of Wooster, Ohio, who flew from Detroit to Denver for a conference. “I got to the airport an hour and a half early, but security only took like 15 minutes.”
However, the airlines weren’t ready to say “mission accomplished” yet, as it’s just the beginning of the busy summer travel season.
“Things have been going pretty well so far …and we are working hard to make sure that we have no repeat of what we saw in Chicago,” said American Airlines spokesman Ross Feinstein, referring to Chicago O’Hare International Airport, which had some of the worst screening problems in recent weeks.
The TSA began deploying extra canine teams to the busiest airports months ago. The dogs can screen large groups of passengers for explosives, eliminating the need to remove shoes and laptops, TSA spokesman Mike England said last week.
The extra dogs were concentrated at the nation’s largest airports, but they weren’t used for all screenings. Many travelers still had to observe the usual procedures. England said the extra dogs would remain at security checkpoints well beyond the Memorial Day weekend.
At Miami International Airport, Fernando Del Gaudio arrived three hours early for a flight home to Buenos Aires, Argentina, only to find that the regular security lines and the pre-screened lines in the American Airlines terminal were empty Monday evening.
“We’re more worried about the luggage, honestly,” he said as his wife worked to close a very full carry-on bag.
In some parts of Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, lines were nonexistent and ID-carrying travelers were outnumbered by clusters of TSA employees.
At John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, travelers arriving from major cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Miami said their security lines had been short.
Not everyone had a smooth trip, however. Bob Dunlap of Milford, Mich., expected to wait an hour to get through a security line at the Denver airport.
“What can you do?” he said with a shrug. “I’ve never been in a line like this for security, ever.”