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Fox reports, "One unnamed federal official said the call-outs seemed to be part of a coordinated protest, but union officials said many employees who called out sick were most likely looking for alternative employment to make up for lost wages".

In a tweet, DHS spokesman Tyler Houlton accused the network of failing to validate its data and not reaching out to agency officials for verification.

"A prolonged government shutdown could potentially impact security and wait times at airports, as Transportation Security Officers seek other employment", said Christopher Bidwell, senior vice-president for security.

"It's also worth reporting that we are grateful for the more than 51,000 agents across the country who show up to work, remain focused on the mission and are respectful to the traveling public as they continue the important work necessary to secure the nation's transportation systems", he said.

However, some travelers are still anxious. That could end up hurting air travelers if security checkpoints turn into "chokepoints".

Whatever the effect, flyers seem to be factoring in the shutdown and the threat of TSA agents calling out sick into their travel plans. "That number will get worse as this drags on".

"Did anyone miss their flight because of the unexpected long lines?"

China's Xi threatens Taiwan with force but also seeks peaceful 'reunification'
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If you have a flight to the U.S. coming up, you might want to give yourself a little extra time at the airport. And as workers call out to take care of children or find other sources of employment, remaining airport officials will have to make some serious decisions: long lines and wait times, or less security?

"We've never had a situation where officers did not get paid", TSA Administrator David Pekoske told reporters while demonstrating security procedures at a Washington-area airport days before the shutdown began.

That means knowing the security guidelines before you leave for the airport in order to decrease your chances of getting stopped at a TSA checkpoint.

"Please, everyone, have patience with the officers who came to work", a Delta Airlines employee pleaded with travelers surrounding her. "Please".

In the midst of the stress of traveling, it can be easy to forget the reason why there may be delays in the first place. Some 55,000 TSA employees who screen around 800 million passengers a year are considered essential and are among the 420,000 federal workers expected to continue working without pay.

Their claim service hadn't been affected contrasted the idea put forward by employee union officials who were quoted by the New York Times as saying more than 150 people had called in to say they would be absent from work on Friday at New York's John F Kennedy Airport alone.