Myrtle Beach Airport officials explain long lines at TSA checkpoint

Myrtle Beach Airport officials explain long lines at TSA checkpoint

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The lines have continued to grow longer at Myrtle Beach International Airport as the Transportation Security Administration fights for federal funding

Though this is a nationwide issue, officials at MYR started seeing people miss their flights last week. It's something officials said the airport doesn't like to see.

"Myrtle Beach International Airport is usually the first thing people see when they arrive in our market, and the last thing they see when they leave the market," said Kirk Lovell, the airport's director of air service and business development. "It is awful when people miss their flights because the TSA checkpoint times are too long."

Lovell added the airport works hand-in-hand with the local TSA and they are doing everything they can to reduce the wait times at security checkpoints. However, a smaller staff and new policies and procedures mean the issue probably won't be going away anytime soon.

"If something's not corrected soon, we're going to see lines twice as long," Lovell said.  

Mark Howell, the regional TSA spokesperson, said the agency is working with the same resources as five years ago. They are pushing for the federal funding it needs to keep up with what he called, "a record-breaking," volume of travelers.

The issue Lovell sees is it will take one to two months to train each new TSA worker.

"Based on the staffing levels and the timeline to get TSA staffing on board, we're anticipating it's going to be a tough summer around the Myrtle Beach International with lines," he said.

Howell said the TSA also expected more people to sign up for the their pre-check option, which wouldn't require as many workers. That led to cuts in staffing.

No matter the reason, missing a flight, isn't something taken lightly at MYR and Lovell hopes the TSA comes up with a solution, and fast.

"What we're hoping is that TSA will bring on more staff and relax their policy and allow passengers to be processed faster through the security check point," he said.

Until that happens, Howell said travelers should be treating any given summer day the same as they would while traveling on Thanksgiving or Christmas.

As for MYR, it has bumped up its recommendation saying people should arrive closer to three hours before their flights.

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