UPDATED 6:10 PM PT – Sunday, June 13, 2021
Air travel is rebounding upwards of 70 percent of where it was before the pandemic and the drastic increase is causing a summer staffing scramble for airlines and airports.
Travelers have been reporting long waits and are crediting this to a lack of airline employees, directing special attention to transportation security administration agents. This comes after the TSA said it screened two million passengers on Friday, which is the highest number since the pandemic began.
The shortage of TSA agents comes as the demand for air travel is rapidly soaring after the COVID-19 pandemic dragged demand to historic lows. In April, Delta airlines were forced to cancel more than 100 flights during the busy Easter holiday due to staffing issues, and demand has only increased since the lifting of pandemic measures.
Even airline office workers have asked to volunteer for airport duty in efforts to help with the employee shortage.
In addition, officials have been urging travelers to be patient as air travel quickly picks back up and tensions between flight crews and passengers are on the rise. The Federal Aviation Administration added, they’ve seen 20 times the usual number of reports of unruly passenger behavior.
Many have blamed increased government spending by the Biden administration for the lack of new hires, citing that extra unemployment assistance is deterring eligible workers from taking jobs in the industry.