Will the government shutdown affect your next flight?

Employees with the Transportation Security Administration walk through Reagan National Airport in Washington. Reuters

Employees with the Transportation Security Administration walk through Reagan National Airport in Washington. Reuters

Because these essential staff are not being paid for the work they're doing.

Keys is part of the almost 1,200 TSA workers at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport who are considered essential employees.

There has already been a modest increase in TSA officers calling in sick.

Canadians travelling to the United States may want to check their flight status or plan for delays because of a shortage of airport screeners, as the USA government shutdown became the longest in history on the weekend.

This may make TSA employees who are not getting their regular paychecks during the partial government shutdown feel a bit better - the agency's administrator David Pekoske announced on Twitter that he has approved a $500 bonus for each uniformed screening officer.

The lawsuit is at least the third filed by a union on behalf of federal employees who have not been paid during the shutdown, which began December 22.

Chin says Terminal G will close at 1 p.m. Saturday, reopen for flights Sunday morning and close again at 1 p.m. that day.

Screeners start around $24,000 a year, and most earn between $26,000 and $35,000, according to TSA.

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"There has been no degradation in security effectiveness and average wait times are well within TSA standards", Transportation Security Administration spokesman Michael Bilello said.

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) noted that the number of controllers was already at a 30-year low, with 18 per cent of controllers eligible to retire.

In a before a federal court in Washington, DC the NTEU is arguing that the 1982 Antideficiency Act - under which the government shutdowns happen when Congress fails to appropriate funding for federal programs - is itself unconstitutional because it allows the executive branch to compel employees to work in emergencies. Now, some are quitting altogether, their union says.

Jeffrey Price, an aviation-security consultant and a professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver, expects more TSA agents will fail to show up, creating longer lines and creating a potential target for terrorists at airports. He said that the airport has about 700 TSA workers scheduled to work daily. "Many of our officers do work paycheck-to-paycheck, and many of our officers are single parents".

"Passengers are encouraged to arrive early and give themselves extra time to check in for their flights and to clear the security checkpoints".

Some airports are trying to help the unpaid federal employees.

Official wait time data for Sunday wasn't immediately available.

Other airports across the country have not received the same feedback following the shutdown.

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