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Long, Frustrating Airport Security Lines Costs TSA Security Head His Job

Kelly Hoggan, head of security for the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Kelly Hoggan, head of security for the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

By Editorial Board
San Francisco Chronicle

Those long airport lines are getting a short answer. The head of security for the Transportation Security Administration is out after a furor over checkpoint delays and management missteps. Fixing the time-wasting mess remains a top priority.

Some of the nation’s busiest airports have become vast waiting rooms with lines snaking down corridors and reports of travelers by the thousands missing flights. The reason is too few security gates plus foot-dragging delays in adding extra staff at the stations.

The ouster of security head Kelly Hoggan is the result. While safety is a priority, so is a dose of efficiency and practicality. Air travel is entering the summer holiday season with families joining business travelers. The TSA hasn’t responded quickly enough.

By one measure, TSA crews have screened 449 million passengers this year, a jump of 57 million over the same period last year. But there are 5,800 fewer security staff than in 2011. This reduction was made on a belief that travelers would pay extra for PreCheck clearance, which allows them to sidestep lines. Sign-ups have fallen short of predictions.

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