MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It is the busiest time of year to fly out of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport as several families and students head out on spring break trips.
Transportation Safety Administration officials said it’s now important to get to the airport two-and-a-half hours before your flight at least for the next month to deal with long waits in security lines. Now, the TSA is urging Congress to support several security changes.
It comes after an incident at the Los Angeles Airport last November, when TSA Officer Gerardo Hernandez was shot and killed. Two other officers and a traveler were also injured. Since that incident, TSA officials have worked to enhance safety and security of their employees.
Officials with the MSP airport are insisting it won’t impact security line wait times. That L.A. incident was the death of a TSA agent in the line of duty. Officials said they want to take steps to keep it from happening again.
There are 14 recommendations up for consideration. Among them is requiring armed law enforcement at security checkpoints and ticket counter during peak hours. Also, giving active shooter training and exercises for TSA officers mandatory, and practicing more emergency drills.
But more security sweeps are also a possibility, which could impact peoples’ flying experience. Travelers at the MSP airport said Thursday while long lines are a pain, security improvements could be helpful.
“It’s like are you going to get mugged walking in off the street? I mean how many are actually in peril with doing their job? Yes, they need to make sure they’re safe but do you need to take it to extremes?” said Jim Pederson.
“I feel better, the more security the better. I want everything checked if I’m getting on a plane to go somewhere,” said traveler Sandra Bacsa.
Congress will hear more on the recommendations Friday, but there’s some question as to if Congress has to approve the changes or if the TSA can make them on their own.
A TSA representative said Thursday it depends on the specific recommended change. Some could be implemented immediately by TSA. Lawmakers will learn more about their role at Friday’s hearing.