Just three days before Christmas, the federal government partially shut downmdashand while that will affect employees from a range of government agencies that help millions of travelers each day, travelers should still be able to make it home for the holidays.
Congress was unable to pass a budget for the coming year, and so government funding lapsed at midnight Friday. That means thousands of government employees will be furloughed without pay during the holidays, and thousands of essential workers will be required to work without pay.
Most other Americas are unlikely to be immediately affected by the shutdown. Government employees who perform the most essential servicesmdashsuch as military personnel on active duty, postal workers, prison guards and border securitymdash will still be working.
Here#8217s what you should know about how a government shutdown may affect your holiday travel:The Brief Newsletter Sign up to receive the top stories you need to know right now. View Sample Sign Up Now Flights and trains should not be impacted by the government shutdown
Amtrak, the TSA, border control and air traffic control will still be operational over the holidays, so travelers can still expect to have safe flights and to be able to take the train home.
Travelers in airports can expect the ldquosame rigorous security standards that we always have,rdquo says TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein. The TSA will be fully staffed with ldquofront-linerdquo employees such as TSA officers, explosive experts and inspectors, will still be on the job, Farbstein says.
However, these employees will all be working without pay, and behind-the-scenes workers, including administrative employees, will also be on unpaid leave.
Farbstein says that while Congress has approved backpay during past shutdowns, ldquotherersquos no guaranteerdquo that TSA employees will be compensated for their work.
Amtrak will also be running as normal in the event of a short-term shutdown, a spokesperson for the railroad said, though its employees will also be working without pay.Holiday packages should arrive on time
One federal service you won#8217t need to worry about is the Post Office. Since the USPS is funded by customersrsquo payments for deliveries and products, the Postal Service will not be affected, and postal workers will continue to deliver the 16 billion pieces of mail and packages sent during the holidays. Unlike many other federal workers, your local mail person will continue to get paid during the shutdown. Mailed gifts and holiday cards will also be delivered as usual throughout the holidays, as the USPSrsquos operations will not be affected during the shutdown.