DIA has stopped publishing safety time estimates on its website during COVID. With the length of the lines lately, just be ready to wait.
DENVER – Denver International Airport (DIA) posted a tweet on September 16 to inform people of security delays.
“We are experiencing busy TSA security lines in DEN,” it said.
They tweeted the warning again on September 17, September 18, September 19, and September 20.
Travelers shared their own tweets showing what “busy” means – on September 19, for example, pictures and videos showed the line that extends through hallways, around corners, and beyond the baggage claim carousels.
– Payton H. Peterson (@PaytonPeterson) September 19, 2021
You chose chaos today … line breaks baggage claim 😭 pic.twitter.com/GbjDtxQMl6
– Frostbyte (@frostbyte_beats) September 19, 2021
3 hour wait at Denver Airport. I will renew my pre – check tomorrow pic.twitter.com/VIzx1lyho8
– HUTCH (@hutch_and_stuff) September 19, 2021
Airport security lines are managed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), not DIA.
Like many industries, the TSA is suffering from a staff shortage due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The agency started in the summer Offer $ 1,000 as an incentive to hire more employees nationwide.
However, with employment concerns remaining, the number of travelers is nearing 2019 levels, meaning the TSA must balance needs between security lines. MondayFor example, the TSA only offered PreCheck, its accelerated security procedure for permitted passengers, at the airport’s south checkpoint.
“[TSA agents] predict how many PreCheck passengers will be there on a given day / time to decide how many PreCheck lanes (one or two) to open, ”TSA spokeswoman Lorie Dankers told 9NEWS. “Lately they haven’t had a PreCheck population to justify opening up both sides.”
We apologize for the long waiting times and any inconvenience this may have caused. TSA manages its own checkpoints, including staff and lines, and operates independently from the City of Denver (the operator of our airport). You can reach them directly @AskTSA –DC
– Denver International Airport (@DENAirport) September 19, 2021
According to Dankers, agents get an hourly breakdown of flights and know how many people have PreCheck. General passenger lines usually require more staff, and if the north line were also open on Monday it would have drained resources from the main lines.
Dankers said 382,000 passengers passed Denver security checkpoints last week. She said that was about 95% of the pre-pandemic numbers.
Even before COVID, travelers could check the calculated safety waiting times on the DIA website. The airport canceled that to cut costs in the pandemic. They are hoping to bring this service back with a different system after it goes through further testing. DIA expects this to go live by the end of 2021.
DIA also tries his vacancies throughout the airport, from restaurants to parking lots.
“Very similar to our concession industry – really every industry – TSA suffers from a lack of staff,” said DIA spokesman Alex Renteria.
The airport’s two largest shuttle bays, Mount Elbert and Pikes Peak, were closed in May 2020. More than 17,000 parking spaces have been available for 16 months. The airport is struggling to replace drivers to resume shuttle service.
“We want to open our shuttle parking lot at Denver International Airport just like our passengers. At the moment we have personnel challenges, ”said Renteria.
The airport needs around 50 full-time shuttle drivers to be operational again. The airport holds job fairs and offers incentives to get more drivers behind the wheel, especially before the holiday travel season.
“Our hope is that our shuttle lots will open before the end of the year, but it depends a lot on whether we can find people for these bus positions,” said Renteria.
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