Abandoned car rentals and TSAs line up outside the door. What’s happening at Austin’s airport?

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When Carmen Ortiz arrives at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA) two hours before the recommended departure this morning, the security-passing line passes through the Barbara Jordan Terminal outside the building and returns to the full length of the terminal. I did.

“We didn’t have to wait at the security line outside the airport. Everyone appeared at the airport and was shocked,” Ortiz said.

Before the sun rose, the TSA screening wait time reached more than 90 minutes, more than three times what the Transportation Security Administration considers to be “normal.”

The TSA states that all screening lanes are open, including three new lanes added at the end of last year, but screeners have been accused of more than 8,252 passengers by 8 am, more than usual. The number has increased by about 1,600.

According to the TSA, we recently invited additional staff from other airports to assist ABIA, but even with a recruitment bonus of up to $ 2,000, it’s hard to hire enough employees in Austin. doing.

Delta flights depart from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport

Monday morning — already one of the busiest times at the airport — became even busier with a flood of people returning home from three major sporting events over the weekend: Texas Relays Track and Field Match Play in UT Austin. NASCAR Race Circuit of the Americas and World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club.

The route was too long and Southwest Airlines had already begun rebooking the flight for passengers one hour before the flight boarded. Ortiz changed his departure late in the morning.

“Many people from outside the town were asking,’Is this normal? What about the airport every time?'” She said on the phone while waiting for her rebooked flight.

Although not normal, this kind of early morning turmoil is becoming more and more common in ABIA. Airlines are adding flights to and from Austin faster than other medium-sized airports in the United States. This includes KLM Royal Dutch Airlines’ flights this afternoon. Royal Dutch Airlines from Austin to Amsterdam.

The $ 4 billion airport expansion launched last year to keep up with the rapid growth will take years to deploy.

The most obvious indication is that these types of bottlenecks continue to come from the airport staff themselves. They expect a record 20 million passengers this year at a facility built for 15 million people.

These unprecedented crowds are already stress-testing the airport’s existing infrastructure in new ways. People who tried to rent a car this morning were struck by a tragic surprise. The lane leading to the airport car rental facility was blocked by a row of abandoned car rentals.

Abandoned car rental in the lane leading to the airport car rental facility

Some people abandoned their rental car on Monday morning in the lane leading to the airport’s rental car facility. Traveler Kelly Negel said he took this picture around 6:30 am.

“It was like an apocalypse,” said Jeff Gluck, a sports reporter from Denver for the NASCAR race.

As Gluck was wondering what to do with his rental car, more and more people were trying to return the car and boxed.

According to airport staff, it started when all rental cars stopped at the drop-off curb and vehicle returns stopped. The staff told the customer that if you leave the key in the car, you can fly. This caused a chain reaction. As more and more people face the possibility of missing a plane, I’ve seen others leave the rental car.

“People were honking. No one could move my car, so I left my car to someone else and thought,” I want you to check in in the end. ” “Gluck said.

Gluck said few planes returned to Denver, and when he landed, he received an email stating that his car had been returned.

Passengers are not the only ones who feel oppressed. At times, airlines are forced to deal with smaller airport infrastructure.

With flight 282 scheduled today, ABIA has warned airlines about possible fuel shortages at the airport. Therefore, planes are advised to “tanker in” jet fuel. In other words, you need to fly with more fuel than usual.

The airport can store fuel for 1-3 days, depending on congestion. According to the authorities, airports of similar size will be fueled for 5-7 days.

Part of the airport’s planned multi-billion dollar expansion will include the construction of a new storage facility capable of accommodating up to 6 million gallons of jet fuel, but plans are less than 500 feet from the tank farm. Faced with opposition from neighbors worried about sleep.

This jet fuel tank farm diagram shows two 1.5 million gallon storage tanks, but the site is built to accommodate up to four such tanks.

Burns & McDonnell

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Austin city

This jet fuel tank farm diagram shows two 1.5 million gallon storage tanks, but the site is built to accommodate up to four such tanks.

Austin City Council member Vanessa Fentes of the district, including the airport, is asking her fellow council members to force airport staff to choose a new location for the tank farm. Long-term expansion plan.

As the airport becomes increasingly tense due to the weight of Austin’s rapid economic growth, some travelers are still finding ways to navigate the crowd.

Kelly Negel, a PhD student at Pennsylvania State University from Waco, was one of those who had to abandon their rental car this morning.

However, Nagel says he was able to skip the “shocking” security lines outside the door by using TSA PreCheck, which provides a personalized security line for passengers undergoing fingerprint authentication and background checks. The cost of TSAPreCheck is usually $ 85 over 5 years. It will be completed in 5 minutes.

“We walked around and thought,’It’s the best $ 85 I’ve ever used,'” Negel said.

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