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More than 50 people miss Roanoke flights due to long security lines

After lines Sunday, airport officials explain that they're working on a solution

ROANOKE, Va. – Dozens of people missed their flights Sunday morning at the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport because of long lines at security.

Airport officials confirmed to 10 News Monday that everything was operating as-scheduled but TSA workers couldn’t get everyone through in time.

“All those people coming in at once overwhelmed the checkpoint system,” airport spokesman Brad Boettcher said.

He said the problem was unexpected.

A picture one person in line posted to Facebook shows the line wrapping around the escalator area around 5:15 a.m.

“We're working on it and we're going to do everything we can to work with TSA to make sure nothing like this happens again,” Boettcher said.

He explained that all flights were full and two airlines did have larger-than-normal planes flying out at 6, including a 132-passenger flight to Atlanta.

There were seven flights that departed between 5:31 and 7:35 a.m. carrying 478 total passengers.

“From our perspective, we work way too hard trying to get people to use the airport and when they don't have a pleasant experience like this we take it very, very seriously,” Boettcher said.

It's up to the airlines to decide to delay a flight -- which can affect the rest of the flights for them that day. Two airlines held flights for a few minutes.

People 10 News talked to said they were surprised to hear there were problems with people getting through security. Here were some of their reactions:

“This is the best airport. We fly out of here often. We go really quickly,” Giles resident Sandra Hudson said.

“It's great. It's quick. It's easy,” Bedford native Lisa Carpenter said.

“I'm in and out of here two or three times a month and I haven't had any issues at all. Everything has been great as far as I'm concerned,” Orlando resident Roy Lewis said.
 
October is typically a busy month already for the airport and Boettcher said if passengers are traveling on Sundays through the rest of the month, arrive early, and using TSA pre-check can always help.

TSA officials did not return a request for comment Monday from 10 News.