MIAMI (CBSMiami/CNN) — Miami International Airport is closing one of its terminals for three days due to a shortage of Transportation Security Administration screeners, airport spokesman Greg Chin said Thursday.
The security checkpoints in terminal G will be closed after 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, he said. Terminal G is one of six terminals in the airport.
“Due to an increased number of TSA screeners not reporting to work, we have decided to take this precautionary step and relocate about 12 flights to adjoining concourses in the afternoons,” he said.
Chin said federal screeners are calling in sick at double the normal rate for Miami, and TSA managers aren’t confident they will have enough workers to operate all 11 checkpoints throughout the airport at normal hours.
“We felt we had to make a decision before the weekend,” Chin told the Miami Herald. “They’re erring on the side of caution.”
Miami International Airport wants travelers to know that passengers may experience changes to their security checkpoint and departure gate this weekend. While MIA does not anticipate any significant impacts to flight schedules or the passenger experience from any gate changes, they are providing some tips to make traveling through MIA easier.
- Departing passengers should arrive two hours before a domestic flight and three hours before an international flight
- Check-in online before arriving at MIA
- Passengers can use the new MIA Airport Official mobile app, available for free at the iPhone and Google Play app stores, to: scan boarding pass and receive estimated walk times; real-time flight updates and airport advisories. It also provides the Mobile Passport Control feature, which allows U.S. citizens with a valid U.S. passport and Canadian citizens with a valid Canadian passport and B1 or B2 visa status to have their passport information processed by using their smartphone or tablet – and avoid the traditional checkpoint lanes – when arriving at MIA from abroad.
- Passengers should wear easily removable shoes, follow the 3-1-1 rule for liquids or gels in their carry-on, and avoid accessories that resemble weapons.
- The Concourse D-2 TSA checkpoint is available to TSA Pre✓® passengers flying American Airlines and other airlines using concourses D and E. TSA Pre✓® is also available at the Concourse H checkpoint for passengers on flights in concourses H or J.
- Flights that were previously scheduled to depart from Concourse G after 1 p.m. this Saturday, Sunday and Monday will be relocated either to Concourse F or Concourse H.
The government shutdown has left TSA employees working without pay, raising concerns that airports might not be able to provide the usual standard of security.
In a wave of what one federal official has dubbed as the “blue flu”– a nod to the blue shirts worn by TSA officers — hundreds of TSA screeners at at least four major airports have called out from their shifts since the shutdown began in December.
Last week, TSA spokesman Michael Bilello acknowledged that “callouts began over the holiday period and have increased,” and that the agency was “closely monitoring the situation.”
Union officials say officers can’t afford to work unpaid.
A TSA union official told CNN some employees have found that showing up for work was actually hurting them financially, when factoring in costs such as child care and commuting. Some skipped work to seek temporary jobs to help make ends meet.
Two federal officials who spoke with CNN on Friday said officers were calling out sick in protest of the expectation that they work without paychecks until the Trump administration and Congress make a deal to end the shutdown.
Approximately 51,000 TSA officers are among the 800,000 government employees who are either working unpaid or on furlough and are set to miss their first full paychecks this week.
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