Posted at: 03/27/2014 10:40 PM
Barry Devine is heading to Phoenix. He's early, but not early enough.
"I'm two hours [early], roughly," he said just before getting in line at a checkpoint. When informed that airport officials recommend travelers show up even earlier, he deadpanned, "I know and it's ridiculous."
In fact, officials at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport now say travelers should arrive at least 2 1/2 hours early for flights out of terminal one. At less-busy terminal 2, they recommend two hours-even.
"It's absolutely an absurdity that you should have to arrive 2 hours and 30 minutes before a flight,” Devine said. “There's something wrong with the system."
Airport spokesman Pat Hogan doesn't necessarily disagree. He says there are three reasons for the change. First, it's spring break and the airport is seeing 6 percent more passengers this year than last. Second, the airlines condensed more flights into the early morning hours because that's when people want to fly. Finally, Hogan says TSA staffing has gone down because of budget cuts.
"The more we can manage expectations," Hogan explained. "The more we can help make sure that people don't show up and miss their flight because that's the worst thing that can happen."
He also says things are a little worse at MSP than other airports because we've had a long winter and plenty of people are heading south.
The TSA gives a different reason for what they call their "minimal" staffing reductions. They say programs like TSA Pre-Check have made the agency more efficient and therefore they need less staff.
A spokesperson at the Duluth International Airport says getting through security there will only take about seven minutes.