A Minneapolis man is blaming the long lines at security for missing a recent flight, and now he's suing the federal agency and the Twin Cities airport's operator for $506.85.
In the lawsuit filed in federal court last week, Hooman Nikizad said his wait of more than 90 minutes on March 19 before he passed through security screening by the federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) made him miss his afternoon flight to Los Angeles.
"I had to buy a ticket with another airline to be able to make my destination and meet my obligations," Nikizad said in his claim, which noted the TSA had limited staff on duty at the time and "only one body scanner for the regular security line [in operation]."
Nikizad, a resident surgeon with the University of Minnesota, said in his suit that the TSA and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport "have done a very poor job of getting passengers through security."
Nikizad noted that eight days earlier, the head of the TSA, Peter Neffenger, visited the airport in the wake of travelers' persistent complaints about slow and understaffed TSA security lines.
Neffenger "promised 'you'll see some real improvements in the very coming days,' " his claim read, citing news coverage of the administrator's visit.
Despite that pledge — and even though he showed up two hours before departure for a flight that took off nine minutes later than scheduled — Nikizad was left behind.
The money being sought, he said, is to reimburse him for a replacement ticket, additional ground transportation expenses and the $75 court fee to file his claim.
The U.S. attorney's office in Minneapolis, acting as the TSA's representative in the suit, declined Monday to address Nikizad's claim, as did the Metropolitan Airports Commission, which operates the airport.
TSA spokeswoman Lorie Dankers also chose not to respond to the suit, but did say that "I have never encountered anything similar" in terms of a traveler suing the agency over a missed flight.
Nikizad is representing himself. Officials with the Metropolitan Airports Commission did not return calls for comment.
The lawsuit was initially filed in Hennepin County District Court. It was transferred to federal court Friday.