NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)– Following heavy criticism earlier this year for extremely long wait times at the airport, getting to your flight may be getting faster.
The Transportation Security Administration said changes it made to speed up security lanes are working.
It’s mostly smooth sailing at airport checkpoints these days, CBS News’ Kris Van Cleave reported. It’s a far cry from what was happening just a few months ago.
In May, it looked like it was going to be a long summer as people waited in line for hours at some of the nation’s busiest airports, causing thousands to miss their flights.
The TSA blamed an increase in airline travel and a shortage of security officers.
The agency responded by hiring 1,300 officers and converting another 1,800 part-time workers to full-time. The Department of Homeland Security said it’s worked.
“We reduced wait times without compromising security,” Secretary Jeh Johnson said.
This summer, 92 percent of travelers spent an average of just 15 minutes waiting to get through security. Part of the reason is attributed to more people signing up for the faster Pre-Check lanes.
“Total membership in TSA Pre-Check is now 3.5 million today, compared to about 1.6 million a year ago,” Johnson added.
The TSA is looking for other improvements, including installing more automated lanes that allow multiple passengers to collect carry-on items at the same time.
“We hope to see as many as 60 by the end of this calendar year and as many as 100 by this time next year,” TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger said.
That could be good news for travelers as the number of people taking flights continues to increase.
The government said people who use the TSA Pre-Check lanes have an average wait time of five minutes or less.