The federal government shutdown hasn’t had a significant impact on security checkpoint wait times at our airport — not yet.
In the past few days, the folks who run airport checkpoints (TSA) report that about 7% of the national work force hasn’t shown up for work. Compare that to 3% last year. Presumably, the uptick is due to workers not showing up because they’re not being paid.
With twice as many workers absent it seems logical that checkpoint wait times should go up dramatically. But so far, they really haven’t. Why? Probably this: at most North American airports January is the slowest month of the year. When I say slow, I mean fewer people are flying.
At our airport January passengers numbers are less than half what they are during the busiest month of the year, which is June.
Bottom line: we haven’t seen checkpoint slowdowns yet because it’s the slowest time of the year.
This doesn’t mean long lines won’t eventually form; it’s a matter of time. How long will the shutdown last — will it run into the busy time of the year? How long will TSA employees show up without a pay check? How long can they afford to show up?
Think about all that if you’re flying during the shutdown. Take a long look at the TSA folks in the checkpoint. And thank them.
And think about the workers at the Federal Aviation Administration. They staff the control towers at airports; they direct air traffic in the sky.
And let’s not forget the National Weather Service. Its weather forecasts help guide pilots through weather’s uncertainty.
And finally …
If you know a federal worker make sure they know about a loan program announced on Monday by the Community Foundation of the Ozarks and the Multipli Credit Union. Federal workers who live or work in Christian, Dade, Dallas, Greene, Lawrence, Polk and Webster counties are eligible for the loan program.