Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano during last week’s sequester scare-fest warned that automatic government spending cuts would lead to massive delays in customs waiting lines at airports nationwide.
And she repeated the claim on Monday, saying that the cuts have already caused delays at major U.S. airports, including Los Angeles International (LAX) and O’Hare International in Chicago.
“We’re already seeing the effects at some of the ports of entry, the big airports, for example. Some of them had very long lines this weekend,” she said Monday at a POLITICO-sponsored event.
“I don’t mean to scare, I mean to inform,” she added.
But are her claims accurate?
“We haven’t had any slowdowns at all,” Marshall Lowe, a spokesman for LAX, told The Daily Telegraph, adding that he had “received no reports of unusual security delays” over the weekend.
“There have been no abnormally long lines at the security checkpoint nor unusual aircraft delays at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport as a result of sequestration,” DeAllous Smith, a spokesman for Hartfield-Jackson, added.
“We’re not seeing any impact at the moment,” Jean Medina, a spokeswoman for Airlines for America, told The Daily Telegraph. “Our biggest problem this week is going to be weather rather than the sequester.”
Hmmm, why don’t we consult with the Federal Aviation Administration’s flight delay map [as of 8:05 p.m. ET]:
So … nothing over the weekend (according to airport officials) and nothing on Monday. We’re not entirely sure what Secretary Napolitano is talking about.
For what it’s worth, the TSA did say in a statement last Friday that travelers “will likely not see immediate impacts at airport security checkpoints” but warned that delays would become worse over time.
“Napolitano said she expects a cascading effect during the week, with wait times expected to double in worst cases,” the Associated Press notes.
Maybe that’s what she meant.
Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter
The AP contributed to this report. Featured image courtesy Getty Images.