TLH operating smoothly despite government shutdown

TSA agents at the Tallahassee airport have not been calling in sick at the rate reported at many other airports across the country.
Photo Submitted by Kristian Thomas.

The Transportation Security Administration is a major factor in keeping our airways safe. With over 50,000 employees, the government organization services millions over the course of just a few months.

A little over 30 days after the government’s initial shut down; national museums are closed, historical parks are not being kept up and the staff needed to keep these places running are not being paid.

All over the United States lines for mandatory security checks are extensive, and some waits are so long airport staff are advising travelers to arrive two hours before their flight as opposed to the normal one hour.

Many travelers are getting a bit concerned since many TSA agents are calling in sick.

“The employees don’t necessarily have an incentive to do their job. I recall skimming an article about someone getting a gun pass TSA — It’s crazy,” said Abani Rollins.

Although angst is a bit high nationwide, Tallahassee International Airport is running smoothly. Although agents would like to be paid for their labor, one TSA agent who asked to not be named believes it’s “a necessary job.”

The agent said call outs (calling in sick) in Tallahassee are nowhere near what it’s like in other cities.

“We have not had any unusual call out increases. Now as time drags on it may change. But going into a little over a month it’s been situation normal for us her locally,” said the agent.

Regardless of all the chaos, Josiah George says he will still be traveling.

“It’s not going to stop me, my trip is planned and I will be going to New York in the early part of this year whether the government is open or closed,” said George.

While some may be hesitant about flying conditions, you cannot avoid the disadvantage for workers who are depending upon their next check. The local TSA agent said the partial shutdown has affected his colleagues.

“It has been tough for some of my co-workers, they are getting more concerned with each passing day,” the agent said.

As that concern grows agents are looking to the government, hoping for a solution as soon as possible.

Rollins, who is a former intern for Florida Senator Marco Rubio, said, “Either two things will happen. Trump will get his wall or the government will continue to be shut down but some provisions will be passed to allow people and agencies to get paid.”

Although TLH may be running well now — one cannot assume that will be the case a month or even a week from now.