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Why traveling over the holidays could be a hassle

Concerns over TSA screeners and vaccine mandates.

HOUSTON — There is a real concern right now that there will be a shortage of airport screeners for Thanksgiving and beyond. 

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management says only about 60% of TSA employees are at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19. They have until Nov. 22 to meet the deadline for federal employees to be fully vaccinated. If they don’t they could face discipline, including getting fired.

Contingency plans, airline mandates

Now the head of the TSA says he is quote “very hopeful” that there won’t be a worker shortage but does admit they are working on contingency plans. 

Airlines are also grappling with getting workers vaccinated with some requiring workers to provide proof they got the shots right before the thanksgiving holiday.

Multiple flights, early departures

So what should you do if you are worried about travel troubles? The experts recommend trying to book flights on off-peak days. Also check to see how many flights the airline you are booking as for your destination. That way you have more options if your flight gets canceled. In the same vein try to get the earliest departure, so you have more wiggle room if something goes wrong.

The White House COVID-19 task force says firing TSA employees will be a last resort. First, they will try education and counseling. They say this will ensure that holiday travel is not disrupted.

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