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Sea-Tac Airport, TSA and airlines increasing staffing this weekend after extended wait times

According to the Port of Seattle, the airport, airlines and TSA are adding more staff for the weekend.

SEATAC, Wash. — Following what is being called "unacceptable wait times" in security screening lines at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport security last weekend, there are plans to increase staffing.

According to the Port of Seattle, the airport, airlines and TSA are adding more staff for the weekend. This decision comes after travel volumes remain higher than normal for this time of year, according to the Port.

The summer travel volume has not dropped off as it normally would have by the fall season, according to the Port. On Sept. 18, TSA screened more passengers between 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. than on any other morning since the COVID-19 pandemic.

On that day, security screening lines extended into the parking garage in what the airport's media relations manager called a "very unusual" situation. Wait times reached up to at least an hour. TSA reported approximately 28,000 passengers passed through security between 6 a.m. to noon, with a total of around 60,000 travelers throughout the day.

The longest wait time the Port of Seattle recorded was 90 minutes, according to the airport's media relations manager, Perry Cooper. However, TSA said wait times did not pass 60 minutes. Travelers say they waited more than two hours.

The following day, the airport again warned of extended wait times in security lines.

Over the summer, TSA brought in additional staff to cover summer travel. Foot traffic through Sea-Tac Airport traditionally drops by about 15% after Labor Day weekend, according to the Port. Staffing was reduced after Labor Day, however, travel volumes remain at summer levels.

According to the Port, 91% of travelers made it through security in under 30 minutes, with 68% making it through in under 20 minutes. 

In addition to adding more staff for the weekend, the Port of Seattle suggests travelers continue to arrive two hours early. The Port encourages travelers to use the SEA Spot Saver, which allows travelers to save a spot in the security line. 

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