The Sequester's Horrible Airport Waits Haven't Kicked In
Has the sequestration actually resulted in a huge increase to airport security wait times? We used the (not very helpful) tools available online to find out!
A caveat at the outset. Sequestration has been in effect for three days. While the White House and Homeland Security head Janet Napolitano weren't shy in raising the spectre of multi-hour waits, the timeline for that happening was left a bit vague, depending on when the department began to furlough Transportation Security Administration workers. Nonetheless, as The Hill reported last week, we were assured that there would at some point be problems:
"At the major international airports, we will be limited in accepting new international flights, and average wait times to clear customs will increase by as much as 50 percent, and at our busiest airports, like Newark and JFK, LAX and O'Hare, peak wait times which can reach over two hours could easily grow to four hours or more," Napolitano said.
"Such delays will cause thousands of missed passenger connections daily, with economic consequences at both the local and the national levels," she continued.
Napolitano also said, "I'm not here to scare people," though reporters were unable to determine if she had her fingers crossed. In USA Today this morning, she was more explicit.
"We will see these effects cascade over the next week," Napolitano adds, saying lines were "150 percent to 200 percent as long as we would usually expect."
Napolitano is actually making two different predictions here: One is that people will spend hours waiting to clear customs, the other is that there will be a percentage increase in waiting. So, have these scenarios already arrived? Well, sort of.