MINNEAPOLIS - The Metropolitan Airport Commission is now formally looking at other airports that use private security companies to screen passengers instead of TSA agents following a surge of complaints about long waits at security checkpoints at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP).
Traveler Jerry Jacobson said tempers in the terminal were already hot. Then after waiting in line for more than an hour for security screening, Jacobson's patience boiled over.
“Two of the five scanners were not being used at a peak business time,” Jacobson said.
He filed a formal complaint calling the situation "outrageous," "a disaster," "sinful!"
“I feel bad because I just let loose. It's just... how do you explain this?” Jacobson wonders.
Jacobson is not alone. Formal complaints at MSP are piling up, filed by travelers who are fed up with the long lines that can push the wait for security screenings up to an hour or more. KARE 11 obtained copies of all the security checkpoint complaints from the last two years. So far in March there have been 85. That is more than 10 times the monthly average of eight, and 12 times the number they received in March 2015.
Many were filed by people who are frustrated to see unused screening lines at the new $17 million checkpoint. Even more travelers shared personal horror stories, such as an 81-year-old woman forced to wait 45 minutes in a long screening line.
“One complaint is probably equal to 8,000 people who said nothing but are still outraged,” Jacobson opined.
“Really, I just talked about how frustrated I was,” said Cammy Oren, another passenger who filed a complaint and doesn't believe TSA is managing its staff effectively.
“They have an important job to do. They just need more support,” Oren said.
The long lines and flaring tempers at MSP led to a recent visit by the administrator of TSA, who explained that security-screener staffing hasn't kept up with a rise in passenger volume. Despite a promise from TSA to speed up screening with the use of dogs and overtime hours, the chair of the Metropolitan Airports Commission is concerned.
“Concern when TSA runs out of overtime budget money or whatever constraints come up this summer that we're going to be facing long lines again,” said Dan Boivin.
And that is not how passengers like Jerry Jacobson want his complaints answered.
“It’s upsetting,” Jerry said.
The complaints obtained by KARE 11 are only those filed directly to MSP Airport. Even more of are filed straight to TSA.