SEA-TAC, Wash. — On the Monday before Thanksgiving, it was mostly smooth sailing for travelers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
“It’s been pretty easy, better than a couple years ago traveling around this time,” said passenger Cheyenne Mizner.
Monday marked the deadline for TSA officers to get vaccinated against COVID or get an exemption, and the agency said 93% complied.
TSA officials said they do not expect the vaccine mandate for federal workers to affect staffing during the Thanksgiving travel period.
“It’s a great number, 93%, if it was like 50% it would be a major issue,” said passenger Randy Wickham.
Port of Seattle officials said TSA is bringing workers from a national deployment to help at SEA.
“We are confident in the staffing plans that they have,” said port spokesman Perry Cooper.
Cooper said wait times were generally staying below 20 minutes.
A local TSA spokesperson did not respond on Monday, but last Friday said officers will work overtime and extra shifts to meet demand.
Another vaccine deadline passed last week for Port of Seattle employees, including airport police officers.
On Monday, the union representing about 100 officers, sergeants and commanders raised public safety concerns, saying port police are already understaffed, and now 14 officers who’ve only had one shot aren’t allowed to work until they’re fully vaccinated.
“It’s irresponsible to not adapt your policy, show a little flexibility, driven toward public safety,” said Teamsters Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy.
Port officials say the deadline was well known and that police coverage will not suffer.
“We’ve had contingency plans underway. We are fully and appropriately staffed for the holiday weekends and the expected crowds that we’re going to have here,” Cooper said.
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