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Overheated TSA agents go home, leaving passengers stuck in massive lines at LaGaurdia

Published time: May 13, 2014 21:26
A woman is given a pat-down by a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screener at LaGuardia Airport in New York.(Reuters / Shannon Stapleton)

A woman is given a pat-down by a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screener at LaGuardia Airport in New York.(Reuters / Shannon Stapleton)

When the air conditioning went down at LaGuardia Airport on Monday, several Transportation Security Administration agents were sent home due to illness, causing massive lines and overheating in the sauna-like conditions.

The air conditioning system went out Monday morning and one of the two security checkpoints at LaGuardia’s Terminal C lost power at the same time, Fox affiliate WNYW reports. The conditions forced passengers to mass around the one remaining checkpoint, raising the already-warm temperatures.

A spokesman for Delta Airlines, which owns and operates Terminal C, said crews brought in fans to cool down customers and handed out free water. Of course, per TSA guidelines, that water had to be finished by the time the travelers reached the screening area.

As the heat rose, several TSA agents were allowed to go home because they felt ill due to the high temperatures in the security area. "Our TSA officers are working in some adverse conditions and we are making sure that they are hydrated,” the agency said in a statement to WNYW. “It is important to know that the checkpoints are open and we are processing passengers through to catch their flights. Our officers are going above and beyond to staff the checkpoints while the air conditioning system is being addressed."

The agents are now allowed to wear their summer uniforms to try to keep cool until the air conditioning is fixed, WNYW reports.

Delta is investigating the cause of the broken AC, but initially indicated that outage was "possibly related to construction but can't confirm that with 100 percent certainty,” the airline told WNYW. "Delta regrets the uncomfortable airport experience for our customers…" spokesperson Morgan Durrant said.

Frustrated travelers vented on Twitter far more than the AC was able to vent:

However, WNYW reported only one woman fainted on Monday.

That same passenger also tweeted to ask Delta to hand out cold bottles of water or cups of crushed ice, running counter to the airline's statement that crews were handing out water.

The high temperature outside LaGuardia was 82 degrees, according to Weather Underground.