Selden said for TSA officers working without pay who have child care and rent to pay for, calling in sick is a way to preserve funds — by not having to pay for child care or transportation, for example.
Hartsfield-Jackson is providing free parking and free lunch to TSA officers, with concessionaires chipping in, Selden said.
Selden said U.S. Customs and Border Protection is not able to use overtime to cover sick call-outs, and waits are more than an hour long for non-U.S. citizens and can be close to an hour for U.S. citizens.
Looking ahead, even bigger crowds are expected for the Super Bowl, when 110,000 to 115,000 people are expected to pass through TSA checkpoints on the Monday after the game.
TSA is bringing in an additional 120 officers and 12 additional K-9 teams for Super Bowl security, Selden said.
Still, the Monday after the Super Bowl “will be a very challenging morning,” Selden said.