Bush Airport's Terminal B checkpoint to reopen Wednesday

By Cathy Hernandez - Reporter, Aaron Barker - Senior Digital Editor, Brittany Taylor - Digital News Editor
KPRC2

An empty Terminal B at Bush Intercontinental Airport on Jan. 14, 2019.

HOUSTON - The ticketing and security checkpoints at George Bush Intercontinental Airport's Terminal B will reopen Wednesday morning after being closed for more than two weeks.

Terminal B's checkpoint had been shut down due to a shortage of Transportation Security Administration workers, who are not being paid during the partial federal government shutdown.

The checkpoint will reopen at 4:30 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 30.

Flights are still departing from IAH Terminal B during the closure, but passengers have to go to ticket counters and security checkpoints in Terminal C and Terminal E.

Officials said passengers can either walk between terminals or take the Skyway tram to Terminal B.

A map can be found at www.fly2houston.com.

"It's kind of a pain in the butt," passenger Sophia Moser said earlier this week. "They haven't said anything. No update. I only found out because the cop wouldn't let us through the ramp."

Houston Airport System officials advised all passengers to arrive at the airport two hours before their flights for domestic travel, and three hours early for international flights.

There have been reports across the country of TSA workers calling in sick during the shutdown, which has strained operations at some airports. These workers are among those government employees who are required to work without a paycheck during a shutdown.

Ray Ruiz, a former TSA manager, who has experienced a government shutdown before, blamed low morale among the agents for the sick calls.

"When you have high stakes, and you have intense pressure, and you are only making $35,000 a year, morale is at an all-time low," Ruiz said. "TSA agents constantly feel like they are the red-headed child, and they are not being paid, and they are being used as political (pawns). Then, no wonder we are seeing an increase in call-outs and Terminal B is being shut."

As the longest shutdown in the nation's history drags on, President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats have not made progress toward any kind of agreement that would put an end to it.

The president has insisted on more than $5 billion in funding for his long-promised wall at the U.S.-Mexico border. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, of California, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, of New York, have refused to meet that demand, instead offering a far smaller sum to shore up border security and asking the president to reopen the government now and negotiate on border security later. Trump has rejected their offers, leading to an impasse that no one seems able to break.

CNN contributed to this article.

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