The TSA tried. It really did.
It all started as a smart, measured response to post-9/11 logjams at airport security lines. In 2011 the TSA introduced the PreCheck program, where $85 and an FBI background check got passengers the privilege of gliding through security like they did in the '90s. Leave your flip-flops on, leave your computer in your backpack, and swig your Diet Coke as you go through a regular ol' metal detector. It was intended to keep us low-threat flyers from taking up TSA agents' time, and vice versa. Rarely do federal programs make so much sense.
The TSA sized up the American people and guessed that 25 million people would enroll. And because the agency was wacky enough to think 85 bucks and a couple hours of your time was worth never having to hear the words "full-body scanner" again, it adjusted its workforce accordingly -- from 47,000 screeners to a lean 42,500... for an expected 740 million passengers this year. All that was left was for you to hold up your end of the bargain, and we'd all be flying faster, cheaper, and more safely.
Turns out the TSA vastly underestimated this country's love of procrastination and whining. The PreCheck program has sputtered a bit, with just 9 million people enrolled so far, about a third of what the TSA needs to keep airport security lines moving at a reasonable pace. Gargantuan lines in May led to O'Hare holding 30 flights so passengers could catch them -- and still 450 people were left stranded. Passengers at Newark, San Jose, Atlanta, LaGuardia, and others all reported ludicrous waits, prompting the TSA to roll out more canine teams at various airports, to get bomb-sniffing dogs to do more of the screening.