Road Warrior

TSA's airport wait times grow shorter, with some help from airlines

Harriet Baskas, Special to CNBC
Passengers at O'Hare International Airport wait in line to be screened at a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint in Chicago.
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This year, Independence Day included something most passengers haven't seen in a long time—freedom from interminably long lines at airport security checkpoints. And that informal holiday could be coming soon to an airport near you.

The Transportation Security Administration screened 10.7 million travelers from Wednesday, June 30 through Monday, July 4, the agency said in a statement last week. "The average wait time nationwide in standard security lines was less than ten minutes, while those in TSA Pre-check lines waited less than five minutes," the TSA added, despite the fact that June 30 and July 1 were "the highest volume travel days we have seen since 2007."

The good news comes courtesy of a variety of systemic fixes that include the expedited hiring of more than 750 new Transportation Security Officers (TSOs), and helping hands from airports and airlines. Those entities have hired extra personnel to perform non-security duties at checkpoints, but the battle is far from won.

"We are not declaring victory," said Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson in a statement. "We plan to do more."