MSP Airport among longest TSA wait times in the country

The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport had the longest TSA security checkpoint wait times in the nation on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, but officials say it's not entirely due to the shutdown. 

The maximum wait time for the standard security lane at MSP Airport was 46 minutes on Monday, TSA reported. That is above the normal TSA wait time of 30 minutes for standard lanes. TSA pre-check passengers waited a maximum of five minutes at MSP. 

However, airport officials say those wait times were the max hourly peaks - not averages. 

“We’ve had a tough go of it at times, but just for brief snippets,” said Cliff Van Leuven, TSA Federal Security Director for Minnesota. “Yesterday, we had a 45 minute wait time at 5 a.m., but that was the only time during the day that we got anywhere close to that long of a wait,” he said.

A record number of absences were recorded Sunday, with 10 percent of agents calling in nationwide. Some airports have reported having to close checkpoints due to employees calling in sick. Yet, Van Leuven maintains MSP hasn’t been hit as hard.

“I can’t say in all honesty these longer wait times are a result of the shutdown,” Van Leuven said.

But Van Leuven says things could soon shift as his employees can’t hold on much longer without pay.

“It’s nothing really significant at this point yet, but the longer this draws on, people have to be able to provide for their families.”

The partial government shutdown is now on its 32nd day, with no end in sight.