HOUSTON - Passengers at Bush Airport on Friday feared missing their Spring Break flights, as airport workers report the line snaked through Terminal C and out the front doors.
The lines come after Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said on Monday that a hiring freeze, eliminated overtime and furloughted workers could mean longer waits at the airport during the sequestration.
"We will see these effects cascade over the next week," said Napolitano.
Families told Local 2 they were taking late night flights to avoid the backup.
"We're going to Steamboat Springs. We are going to go skiing for Spring Break," said one traveler.
Some passengers flying into Houston from Washington, D.C. planned ahead. Brook Carlon said she showed up an hour early.
"Security was really slow, but other than that, we didn't see any delays," said Carlon. "It was slower than normal. But maybe just an extra 20 minutes. It wasn't something terrible."
Napolitano said long lines at other airports last weekend were just the tip of the iceberg.
"I don't mean to scare, I mean to inform. If you're traveling, get to the airport earlier than you otherwise would. There's only so much we can do with personnel," Napolitano said. "And please, don't yell at the customs officers or the TSA officers. They're not responsible for sequester."
Napolitano said she expects wait times to double in some cases, if the cuts continue for the next several months.
"There's very little we can do to mitigate it because the procedures we use to clear passengers and cargo, they're responsible I think for the fact that we have a very safe aviation system and we have a very good land migration system where we know who's coming into the country," she said.
"So, we're not going to cut back on those security needs so the end result is fewer people doing the same thing means lines are going to get longer."
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