Airport Chaos Continues As Coronavirus Screenings Ramp Up
U.S. travelers flying back home from Europe are finding themselves on incredibly long airport lines as airports start government-mandated coronavirus screenings.
Since President Donald Trump announced restrictions on travel to and from Europe for 30 days last week, U.S. travelers are being required to be screened at 13 major airports: Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, New York’s JFK and Dallas’ Fort Worth International Airport all included on that list.
Some waited as long as four hours to get through the U.S. Customs and Border Protections and the Center For Disease Control and Prevention screening. Travelers took to social media to complain about the hours of waiting and long lines. One traveler, Brandon Mach, in Chicago’s O’Hare Airport tweeted, “What better was to ‘avoid large gatherings.’”
— Brandon Mach (@Bmach30) March 14, 2020
At a news conference on Sunday, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf acknowledged travelers’ frustrations but insisted that many screening airports had improved since screenings began. He added that as on Sunday, the average waiting time at all 13 airports was 30 minutes.
“To be clear, the lines that we saw overnight at a limited number of airports including Chicago are unacceptable,” he said, adding that U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan, “also believes they are unacceptable and has personally engaged leadership at all 13 funneling airports. We did make the necessary adjustments at 12 of the funneling airports … At Chicago, those adjustments were not made quick enough, but we have course-corrected.”