• Weekend Sea-Tac security lines extended to airport parking garage

    By: Graham Johnson

    Updated:

    SeaTac, Wash. - On Sunday, TSA lines at Sea-Tac Airport extended all the way into the parking garage.

    The Port of Seattle provided KIRO 7 photos on Tuesday, the same day Sea-Tac's director testified in Congress about the security risks of long TSA lines.

    Even before the busy summer travel season, Sea-Tac has seen long security lines, and the Sunday line was especially brutal.

    Eva Munet was on her way home to Florida after an Alaska cruise.

    "I think we were there at least an hour and a half," she told KIRO 7.

    She missed her flight and couldn't fly out for another 12 hours.

    "Just lines of it snaking around, I mean, literally I could have gone to Mordor and destroyed the One Ring faster than I could have gone through TSA," Munet said.

    When people are lined up on the unsecured side of the airport, Sea-Tac Managing Director Lance Lyttle said it's hard to keep them safe.

    "We don't want travelers stuck waiting in security lines and we don't want large groups on the public side of the airport creating a potential soft target," Lyttle told a Congressional hearing focused on TSA staffing.

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    Sea-Tac has 31 security lanes, but Lyttle said in his time working for the airport, "TSA has never had the staff to open every single screening lane."

    One study found a 90 percent attrition rate among TSA workers at Sea-Tac.

    The port says their starting pay is around $20 per hour.

    Some quit to make more money working for the Port of Seattle, taking the more mellow job of screening airport workers at a special checkpoint.

    What could make things even worse, airport officials say, is the Trump administration shifting some TSA funding from airports to the southern border.

    There are several reports that the White House is considering just that.

    Sea-Tac is expected to see another crush of people in the coming days, when nearly half a million passengers are expected to fly out between Wednesday and Friday for Memorial Day.

    New numbers show that traffic at the airport grew 41 percent between April 2014 and April 2019.

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