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Press Release

TSA Provides Updates to Travelers on Security Procedures for the Holiday Travel Season

Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Contact:
TSA Press Office
(571) 227-2829

Photo of an airport terminal.WASHINGTON – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) today highlighted security procedures ahead of the busy holiday travel period and reminded travelers about the steps they can take to be prepared for airport security. Over the past few months, TSA has implemented a number of new risk-based security measures, including expedited prescreening initiatives for known travelers and airline crewmembers and modified procedures for screening passengers 12 and under, among other changes.

"TSA has implemented risk-based procedures to further strengthen security while improving the passenger experience whenever possible," said TSA Administrator John S. Pistole. "We are prepared this holiday season to keep passengers safe as they travel to see their loved ones."

Passengers who are prepared for security screening at the checkpoint will help streamline the process for themselves and for other travelers.

New Security Improvements for Holiday Travel

  • Expedited Screening Pilot: This pilot program prescreens individuals - traveling on Delta Air Lines at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International and Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County airports and on American Airlines at Miami International and Dallas/Fort Worth International airports - who volunteer information about themselves prior to flying in order to potentially expedite the screening experience. TSA plans to expand this program to McCarran International, Minneapolis St. Paul International and Los Angeles International airports in the coming months.
  • New Screening Procedures for Passengers 12 and Under: TSA has implemented new procedures that reduce, though not eliminate, pat-downs of passengers 12 and under that would otherwise have been conducted to resolve alarms while also ensuring effective security measures. Passengers 12 and under are also able to leave their shoes on when going through security checkpoints.
  • New Privacy Protection Software on All Millimeter Wave Machines: TSA has upgraded all millimeter wave Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) units at airports nationwide with new software to further enhance privacy protections by eliminating the image of an actual passenger and replacing it with a generic outline of a person. This technology increases the efficiency of the screening process, is safe for all travelers, and passengers are now able to view the same outline that the TSA officer sees.
  • Known Crewmember: TSA has designed a new program to expedite screening for airline pilots through positive identification verification, which is currently being tested at Seattle-Tacoma International, Minneapolis-St. Paul International, Chicago O'Hare International, Miami International and Washington Dulles International airports.
  • Expanded Behavior Detection Pilot: At Boston Logan International and Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County airports, Behavior Detection Officers have casual conversations with travelers to determine if the traveler should be referred for additional screening at the checkpoint.

Holiday Travel Tips

  • Travelers should remember the three simple steps to security: have ID's out, coats and shoes off, and laptops and 311 bags out for screening. TSA reminds travelers to follow 3–1–1 for carry-on luggage for non-exempt liquids: 3 ounce bottle or less for all liquids, gels and aerosols; placed in a 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag to hold all small bottles; 1 bag per passenger placed in screening bin. The limitations on liquids apply only to carry-on bags and larger quantities may be packed in checked baggage.
  • TSA also recommends that passengers do not travel with wrapped packages. In order to determine if the contents of a package are a threat, a security officer may need to unwrap and inspect the item. Snow globes of any size are not permitted in carry-on bags because officers cannot accurately determine the volume of liquid. TSA recommends passengers pack these items securely in checked baggage.
  • Food items such as pies and cakes are permitted but may require further inspection. If travelers are not sure if a food item is considered a liquid or gel it is best to pack the item in checked baggage or ship it to a destination in advance.

TSA reminds travelers to be vigilant during the holiday travel season by reporting suspicious activity to local law enforcement. The traveling public plays an important role in security, so "If You See Something, Say Something."

For more travel tips or information on what passengers can and cannot bring through security, click here to use the MyTSA mobile app.

For more information on these and other helpful tips, please visit www.tsa.gov.