What happens when four early-morning flights leave Lafayette Regional Airport within 70 minutes of one another?
Long lines and missed flights.
Frequent flyer David Moody of Lafayette said he noticed a difference 4 to 5 weeks ago. He arrived at his usual time for a flight around 6 a.m. and encountered a 20-minute wait at the lone TSA security checkpoint..
By the time Moody cleared security, a line of 200 to 250 people wrapped around the upstairs of the airport. Several people missed flights, he said, and his own flight was delayed for 20 people who were still in the security line. He almost missed a connecting flight.
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Other Lafayette Regional Airport passengers voiced frustration on Facebook with the slow-moving security line.
“We were there for an hour before our flight and almost missed it because of TSA,” Sheena Marie Delcambre wrote on Facebook. “Ran onto the plane at the last minute with one shoe.”
Four flights and new TSA protocols are contributing to long lines
Four flights with more than 300 passengers depart Lafayette Regional Airport within 70 minutes, airport Executive Director Steven Picou said Wednesday. American Airlines moved a flight departure time up April 1, contributing to the longer lines, he said.
TSA also implemented new security protocols that it uses off and on during the day, Picou said, adding to the delays.
Airport administration and board of trustees, he said, legally has no control over when airlines schedule flights.
The airport and TSA are working to ease the bottleneck
Picou said the airport is doing what it can. Upon his request, TSA conducted an efficiency study, finding TSA agents in Lafayette are operating efficiently, he said. But TSA is working on techniques that may improve efficiency.
The airport also asked the concession operator to open earlier in the morning for the early-flight passengers and is urging passengers, especially on those early flights, to arrive at least 90 minutes before their departure time.
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United Airlines, Picou said, also may be moving one of its early-morning departures to 5:15 a.m. in June, which would help ease the bottleneck at security.
Moody, the frequent flyer, suggested casual flyers consider a later morning flight since the early flights are often filled with business and offshore travelers.
Those who travel often also might consider inquiring about TSA Pre-check, which expedites the security screening process, he said.
A new terminal is in the works with additional gates and two screening lanes, Picou said. Construction hasn’t begun yet. It could be finished in 2021 or 2022.
Article originally posted by theadvertiser.