Who controls staffing at airports?

ArrowFlyer86

Pattern Altitude
Joined
Jul 17, 2019
Messages
1,530
Location
Chicago suburbs
Display Name

Display name:
The Little Arrow That Could
I just flew back from South America and had the unfortunate displeasure of having a connection through Houston (IAH) enroute to ORD. This is post holiday season, landing yesterday morning.

It was a nightmare. Bigly. It was line after line after line. There were lines to get into other lines (like holding areas before you could proceed to other lines). 9/10 people in our family group missed their connections, I was the lucky one who made it before they shut the door.

I consider myself lucky, not only because I made my connection but because US passport holder line was only about 1/3 of the non PP holder line. But it's still about the most **** poor management I've ever seen.

My question:
Who pays and decides staffing for things like TSA/immigration officials at the different airport terminals? If you know you have full plane loads of people arriving - how can any person with a brain in their head approve 3 customs officials being on duty for a thousand+ people? Or like 5 TSA agents to handle all of the pax?
 
I just flew back from South America and had the unfortunate displeasure of having a connection through Houston (IAH) enroute to ORD. This is post holiday season, landing yesterday morning.

It was a nightmare. Bigly. It was line after line after line. There were lines to get into other lines (like holding areas before you could proceed to other lines). 9/10 people in our family group missed their connections, I was the lucky one who made it before they shut the door.

I consider myself lucky, not only because I made my connection but because US passport holder line was only about 1/3 of the non PP holder line. But it's still about the most **** poor management I've ever seen.

My question:
Who pays and decides staffing for things like TSA/immigration officials at the different airport terminals? If you know you have full plane loads of people arriving - how can any person with a brain in their head approve 3 customs officials being on duty for a thousand+ people? Or like 5 TSA agents to handle all of the pax?
There were Thousands of them Standing Around somewhere. Only a few actually working.
 
I’ve come off a cruise ship with 2500 passengers and there were two Customs screeners. They were collecting declaration forms without looking at them and waving everyone through. Of course all those guys are is tax collectors.
 
I’ve come off a cruise ship with 2500 passengers and there were two Customs screeners. They were collecting declaration forms without looking at them and waving everyone through. Of course all those guys are is tax collectors.
Yeah, but the people on the cruise ship are the same people who departed on the cruise ship. That’s a lot different than 5 planes from 5 different countries coming in people on those planes who originated from who knows how many countries.
 
I just flew back from South America and had the unfortunate displeasure of having a connection through Houston (IAH) enroute to ORD. This is post holiday season, landing yesterday morning.

It was a nightmare. Bigly. It was line after line after line. There were lines to get into other lines (like holding areas before you could proceed to other lines). 9/10 people in our family group missed their connections, I was the lucky one who made it before they shut the door.

I consider myself lucky, not only because I made my connection but because US passport holder line was only about 1/3 of the non PP holder line. But it's still about the most **** poor management I've ever seen.

My question:
Who pays and decides staffing for things like TSA/immigration officials at the different airport terminals? If you know you have full plane loads of people arriving - how can any person with a brain in their head approve 3 customs officials being on duty for a thousand+ people? Or like 5 TSA agents to handle all of the pax?
IAH Airport has reached new lows as the seem to be competing for the title of the worst airport in the US. Nothing in the airport works, and they make sure there is nothing that resembles customer service. Nasty terminals, constant broken subway service, parking that is an absolute nightmare entering and exiting coupled with massive traffic jams.

And it's a UAL hub. Avoid at all cost.
 
So, you as a tax payer want to pay for extra agents to be at work for a full day for a short period of time with high volume?

If you think that is bad, try IAD in the afternoon when some 20 international flight arrive within about 2 hours.
 
So, you as a tax payer want to pay for extra agents to be at work for a full day for a short period of time with high volume?

If you think that is bad, try IAD in the afternoon when some 20 international flight arrive within about 2 hours.
It's called Management of Resources. All staffing is not entirely funded thru the "US tax payer" model. Taxes on fuel sales fund a huge part of airport expenses. Fees that the airlines tack onto tickets fund airline employees. TSA? Yes, that's the taxpayer model but also remember that every ticket now includes a "security fee". Complaints to your US CongressCritters is warranted, and to airport management, who request TSA staffing.
 
So, you as a tax payer want to pay for extra agents to be at work for a full day for a short period of time with high volume?
Potentially.

If it means that I don't spend 2 hours as a US citizen trying to clear my own customs line, then yeah... might be worth it to me! If the alternative is having low/no staffing and everyone missing their connections.

I just wanna know who schedules these people...
Does UAL tell them "hey we got like 1000 people coming in tomorrow at 6am and we see there's 4 guys scheduled... There's no guesswork about the outcome here -- this is going to be a disaster if you don't get more people on the schedule".
Or does UAL just find out day-of "oh shi*... TSA and customs has no one working! Ruh Roh!".
 
They already have it. Its called Global Entry.
Normally yeah, but Global Entry was not available when I landed. Terminal D in IAH.
That whole section was roped off. Every person I saw went through the cattle lines...
 
Yes, global entry (and domestically, tsa pre/clear)
But we should provide acceptable service to everyone. And we used to.
40 years ago-GE didn’t exist, lines generally weren’t long.
Our elected representatives - at both the federal and state level- haven’t spent adequately to maintain (much less improve) infrastructure and staffing levels to provide efficient service.
See it at airports, in public transit, on our streets and roads.
Sadly, even our bridges and dams.
We should demand better.
 
CBP controls staffing and hours of operation of customs and immigration facilities. TSA controls staffing and hours of operation of security screening locations. Airlines tell CBP and TSA what they want then work with what they are given.
 
And they base it on average requirements over the shift time. You have to pay the officers for the entire shift, not just when they need the extra bodies.

YOU might be happy with paying for double the CBP people on duty, but not everyone flies internationally. So how about this a program where you can pay to have your own personal CBP officer, so you have no wait time, but you have to pay for the entire 8 hours shift, including benefits. :)
 
I blame the baby boomer generation. It’s all that travel they do in retirement. Once they move into the nursing homes, the lines will get shorter.
 
The government agencies like TSA and CBP tend to be reactive rather than proactive. We get a quarterly report of throughput which tells them how to the staff the next quarter.

Add to the nationwide employee shortage that is impacting government agencies as well as gas stations, airlines, etc., it makes for less service and long lines.
 
Back
Top