Travelers headed out for the long holiday weekend are already finding long security waits at some airports as the government shutdown drags into its 28th day.
One major trouble spot Friday: Seattle, where wait times at Sea-Tac Airport were up to 60 minutes at some checkpoints Friday morning,according to the airport's mobile app. One passenger said the lines stretched to the parking garage. An airport spokesman attributed it to a high volume of passengers heading out for the holiday weekend.
Atlanta, which has had the longest security lines in the country this week, had long lines Friday morning, too, according to local media reports. The airport's website says wait times were down to less than 15 minutes at all checkpoints by noon ET.
The TSA said it expects a travel rush this weekend due to the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend, with more than 8 million passengers expected to be screened between Friday and Monday. Friday is the busiest day with more than 2 million passenger screenings.
TSA screener absences remain significantly higher than usual across the country, though they have fallen from peak levels earlier this week. On Thursday, 6.4 percent of workers called in sick, compared with 3.8 percent on the same Friday a year ago. They missed their first paycheck on Jan. 11 and some are seeking other jobs to make money.
Despite the sickouts, the TSA says 99.7 percent of passengers waited less than 30 minutes and 94.2 percent of passengers waited less than 15 minutes on Thursday. Several airports had longer lines than usual, though. Atlanta had the longest lines, with a maximum wait of 47 minutes, followed by Minneapolis at 36 minutes and Seattle at 31 minutes, according to the TSA.
USA TODAY is checking in daily with top U.S. airports to monitor wait times. Note that many busy airports don't post wait times on their websites. Want to check the situation at your home airport or vacation destination? Download the TSA's My TSA App to monitor estimated wait times at any airport.
Wait times as of 12:15 ET:
Atlanta: Less than 15 minutes at all checkpoints.
Denver: 20 minutes at south security checkpoint, 12 at bridge security and 10 at north security.
New York JFK: Up to 25 minutes. The longest lines are in Terminal 5, home to JetBlue Airways.
New York LaGuardia: 2-12 minutes. The longest line is at the A gates checkpoint in Terminal B.
Phoenix: 6-10 minutes. The longest line is the B gates checkpoint in Terminal 4.
Minneapolis: Less than 10 minutes at Terminal 2. Terminal 1 waits aren't published due to construction.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Friday TSA status: Long lines in Seattle, Atlanta as holiday weekend kicks off