Long TSA Lines

As the summer season comes around each year, airports become more crowded and security wait times become longer, making travel much more difficult and stressful.  Commercial Medical Escorts moves patients from country to country, but travel around the United States is still very popular.  As families and friends get ready to go on vacation, CME reminds you to be aware of extensive airport lines and to plan accordingly for your travels.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says “a loss of thousands of employees in 2014 that the agency has yet to replace” (CNN) is the cause of the long lines in airports.   The following busiest airports (recorded by total passengers boarded):

1. Hartfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

2. Los Angeles International Airport

3. O'Hare International Airport

4. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport

5. John F. Kennedy International Airport

6. Denver International Airport

7. San Francisco International Airport

8. Charlotte Douglas International Airport

9. McCarran International Airport

10. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

At Hartfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, officials are recommending that passengers arrive up to three hours early before departure to guarantee enough time for them to catch a flight.  Security lines tend to stretch through the terminal atrium, and sometimes, through baggage claim.  Wait times at TSA checkpoints reach between half an hour and an hour long, and occasionally longer.  On May 9th, the peak security wait time at Atlanta was sixty-two minutes.

Due to many complaints from travelers and airlines, Atlanta airport officials criticized TSA for the long security lines and blamed the wait on a decrease in the amount of staff.  In fact, problems at TSA stem from negative public and congressional opinion, low employee count, high employee layoff, and investigations of misconduct. TSA administrator Peter Neffenger told Congress that TSA is struggling with a 10 percent attrition rate, meaning that there are about 5000 fewer screening officers on the job today than a few years ago.  Recently, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security promised that executives would be taking immediate action to expand the amount of members in the TSA workforce in order to ensure more efficient security checkpoints.  TSA received an approval of $34 million from Congress to re-allocate funds to increase security officers at checkpoints. Around $26 million will go to overtime and part-time hours, and $8 million will go towards hiring new officers in May 2016, just in time before the busy summer travel months.

Travel Tips:

1.     Monday morning and evening and Friday morning and evening are when the majority of business travelers are flying out. To avoid this rush time, if available, book midday flights throughout the week to avoid long lines.

2.     Tuesday and Wednesday are known for being the slowest days of the week in airports.

3.      Arrive at least two hours early for domestic flights and three hours early for international flights.

4.     Highways are generally busiest either early morning or early evening on the weekdays, so allot your time accordingly.

5.     Enroll in TSA PreCheck.  Approved members go through special lines, do not have to remove shoes, belts, or jackets, and do not have to take laptops and liquids out of bags.

6.     Enroll in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Global Entry program.  This program makes international travel easier and quicker and provides eligibility for the TSA PreCheck program.

CME will continue to monitor this problem as it severely impacts CME clients, nurses, and travelers.  As summer approaches soon, CME warns about long security lines and hopes for safe and smooth travels.


The European Aero-Medical Institute (EURAMI) - Our newest achievement has been successfully completing our EURAMI accreditation in 2019, now being the first medical escort company to be duel accredited in the US and Europe. Working alongside EURAMI helps CME understand the European medical standards, as well as working hand in hand with European providers. 


Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada (THIA)- THIA is an association of Canadian travel insurance. CME has been an active member since 2010.


United States Travel Insurance Association (USTIA)- CME has been an active member of the USTIA since 2010. Working with the top US travel Insurance underwriters, through the past years, CME has provided representation on various committees and served as a USTIA board member.

Michael Margolies


Dr. Margolies is originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and now resides in Boca Raton, Florida. He joined the CME team in 2013 as a Flight Doctor. Michael received his medical degree from Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and has been in practice for more than 20 years as an ER physician. A man of many trades, Dr. Margolies is also a private pilot.

Julie Dilorenzo


Julie Di Lorenzo, is originally from Andover, Massachusetts and is now residing in Phoenix, Arizona. She joined the CME team in 2015. Julie has 30 years’ experience in Cardiac ICUs in hospitals throughout the United States. Julie’s favorite saying is “caring for someone and giving them the support they need during a difficult time is what makes my job so worthwhile.”

Amanda Smrcka


Amanda Smrcka, is originally from Banstead, Surrey, UK and is now residing in Detroit, Michigan. She joined the CME team in 2010. Amanda has 21 years experience in stroke, trauma and orthopedics in various hospitals throughout the United States. Her favorite quote is “If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep walking"—Buddhist saying.

Isabel Domingez


Isabel Dominguez, is originally from Caracas, Venezuela and is now resides in Atlanta, Georgia. She joined the CME team in 2007. Isabel worked as a flight attendant before starting her nursing career of 29 years in all areas of nursing. Isabel enjoys missionary assignments and helping families in India. 

Edward Mutzl


Edward Mutzl, is originally from Elkhart, Indiana and now resides in Mesa, Arizona. He joined the CME team in 2012. Edward has 25 years‘ experience in medical care and occupational therapy. Any opportunity he can he visits his family in Japan. He also enjoys cycling and the outdoors. 

Carmen Novitski


Carmen Novitski, is originally from Hawley, Pennsylvania and now resides in San Antonio, Texas. He joined the CME team in 2010. Carmen has 22 years’ experience as a full-time helicopter flight nurse and paramedic. Carmen enjoys spending time with his wife and twin daughters; they love vacations and exploring new places.

Walter Kerr


Walter Kerr is originally from Baltimore, Maryland and now resides in Jenson Beach, Florida. He joined the CME team in 2016 and became the official safety officer in 2019. Walter has 30 years experience as a flight and critical care paramedic and 27 years as a veteran police officer. Walter enjoys spending time with his family and is an avid golfer.

Alexandra Crosby


Alexandra Crosby, is originally from Seattle, Washington and now resides in Boynton Beach Florida. Alexandra joined CME in 2017 and most recently joined the FLY CME team in 2018, taking on the lead agent role. She loves coming to work, knowing she will learn something new each and every day. She enjoys spending time with her family and her twin grandbabies.

Susanne Bazos


Susanne Bazos, is originally from South Florida. She joined the CME team in 2019 and most recently has taken on the accounting supervisor role. An FAU grad she studied multimedia studies with a minor in sociology. She enjoys couponing, her Frenchie's and spending time with her family.

Hector Romero


Hector Romero, is originally from Valencia, Spain and now resides in South Florida. He joined the CME team in 2019. Hector studied international business and trade. He has also recently joined our FLY CME team in 2020. Hector enjoys playing the guitar, traveling to exotic places, and loves to see happy reunited families after a challenging medical transport case.