CREATED Aug. 1, 2013
PUNTA GORDA, Fla. - Carl Hydes thought arriving at Punta Gorda airport three hours before his flight departure would ensure he got on the plane. But, that wasn't the case. Hydes tells Fox 4 he stepped outside for a smoke break after learning his flight was delayed. When he tried to return inside, security told him he couldn't get back in because all TSA officers had gone home for the day.
"I'm frustrated and angry," Hydes said. "I thought TSA had to stay there until the last flight took off."
Hydes ending up missing his flight and had to pay $400 to book another flight out the next day, on top of the $120 he was out from his original ticket.
"Four in Your Corner" checked into the situation to find out if TSA agents can depart for the day before all flights have departed.
A spokeswoman from TSA said in the case of a delayed flight, TSA agents will inform the airlines the security checkpoint is closing, and it's the airlines responsibility to inform the passengers.
Brian Davis, spokesman for Allegiant Airlines, said the staff does their best to inform passengers they cannot leave and re-enter, but couldn't comment on the specific situation.
With Allegiant announcing just this week it's doubling its fleet at Punta Gorda Airport, some wonder whether the airport and TSA staff is prepared for the increased travel. Davis said the airline is working to ensure "all resources are in place to meet the growing customer need."
For Hydes, he said no one informed him he couldn't leave, and hopes TSA policies will change.
"At least just have one person from TSA there until the flight takes off, at least one person," he said.