What to Know
- Flyers at Newark Liberty International Airport are reporting unprecedented lines at the TSA security check Friday morning
- The TSA said "the longer than usual lines" were residual impact from Thursday night's storm cancellations; people showed up early to rebook
- Airport officials responded to Twitter users via the social platform, apologizing and saying "our team is doing everything" to assist
Flyers at Newark Liberty International Airport reported unprecedented lines at the TSA security checkpoint Friday morning, decrying "nightmarish" queues and chaos they said erupted with little to no information about the delays.
The Transportation Security Administration said "the longer than usual lines" were a residual impact from Thursday night's storm cancellations; passengers showed up early to try to rebook flights and that caused major crowding.
TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein told News 4 the checkpoint crowds were "back to a more normal level" by about 8 a.m. The Port Authority also confirmed the lines resulted from weather-related delays and cancellations the night before.
The airport reported 31 total cancellations and 45 delays -- far more cancellations than LaGuardia (five) or JFK (six) airports because of the storm.
And though the rain had stopped falling before dawn Friday, travelers headed to the New Jersey hub clearly still felt the impact. People took to social media to file their complaints of the "mayhem." Even the TSA pre-check line, which is usually not as busy, was wrapped around four times, Twitter users said. One man said it took him more than 42 minutes just to get through the pre-check line. He wasn't alone.
"Never seen a TSA precheck line this long ever," Joe Fitz wrote on Twitter.
Some travelers posted videos of the chaos, which showed seemingly endless lines snaking through long airport hallways, forlorn travelers staring off into the distance or checking their phones.
Another Twitter user, @jeancosme, described the lines as "extreme" and said TSA and United were having a "nightmarish morning."
United apologized for "any frustration," saying in a tweet, "While we don't have control over the TSA, our teams will do what we can to work within the constraints these long lines are causing."
Newark @EWRairport you guys are GROSS. Your airport this morning is nothing but chaos, disorganization, and unprofessionalism.— Tamara Shanice (@ItsMaraShanice) November 1, 2019
How do you have a line that wraps 2 floors with no barriers, security, or sense of direction?!!
Newark TSA PRE-CHECK line is wrapped around 4 times! Something must be up bc this is CRAZY pic.twitter.com/bnszAED9yv— Alex Roth (@AlexandraRoth94) November 1, 2019
Mayhem at Newark airport this morn. Never seen a TSA precheck line this long ever. Best guess 1 hour wait— Joe Fitz (@thejoefitz) November 1, 2019
Airport officials have also been responding to complaints on Twitter, "We know that things are very busy and stressful at EWR right now, and we apologize for the inconvenience. Our team is doing everything they can to assist."
Dangerous winds up to 50 mph lingered in the tri-state area early Friday, hours after powerful storms triggered tornado warnings in parts of New Jersey. While that could explain flight delays, in part, it wasn't clear what kind of impact the gusts would have on security lines.