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Press Release

TSA Provides Updates for Holiday Travel Season

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

WASHINGTON — The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) today highlighted security procedures ahead of the busy holiday travel period to remind travelers about the steps they can take to be prepared for airport security. Over the past year, TSA has implemented a number of risk-based security measures that enhance the passenger experience at airports across the country.

TSA screens approximately 1.8 million passengers each day at more than 450 airports nationwide. According to industry forecasts, airports and airlines anticipate more than 25 million air travelers nationwide during this 12-day Thanksgiving travel period, a 1.5 percent increase over 2012.

“TSA has implemented risk-based procedures to further strengthen transportation security while improving the passenger experience whenever possible,” said TSA Administrator John S. Pistole. “We remain prepared, especially during this holiday season, to keep passengers safe as they travel.”

In order to provide the most effective security in the most efficient way possible, TSA has expanded its TSA Pre ✓™ program to additional airports and airlines nationwide. TSA Pre✓™ is an expedited screening program that allows pre-approved airline travelers to leave on their shoes, light outerwear and belt, keep their laptop in its case and their 3-1-1 compliant liquids/gels bag in a carry-on in select screening lanes. TSA Pre✓™ operations are available at more than 100 airports nationwide when flying on a participating carrier.

Passengers who are eligible for TSA Pre✓™ include U.S. citizens of frequent traveler programs invited by participating airlines. Additionally, U.S. citizens who are members of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Trusted Traveler program and Canadian citizens who are members of CBP’s NEXUS program qualify to participate. Later this year TSA will launch an application program, allowing more U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to enroll in TSA Pre✓™.

If a passenger is eligible for expedited screening, a TSA Pre✓™ indicator will be embedded in the barcode of the boarding pass so that when scanned at the checkpoint, the passenger may be referred to a TSA Pre✓™ lane. Many participating airlines will also print a TSA Pre✓™ indicator directly on the boarding pass so passengers will know in advance that they have been cleared for expedited screening. Eligible passengers should utilize the TSA Pre✓™ lane in order to receive expedited screening.

Passenger preparedness can have a significant impact on wait times at security checkpoints nationwide. To alleviate misunderstandings at the security checkpoint, TSA is reminding travelers of the following tips:

  • 3-1-1 for liquids: Liquids, gels, aerosols, creams and pastes must be 3.4 ounces (100 ml) or less and all bottles must fit in 1 quart size plastic bag and placed in a bin for screening.
  • Gifts: While wrapped gifts are allowed, security officers may need to unwrap a gift to resolve an alarm. TSA recommends passengers wrap gifts after their flight or ship them ahead of time to avoid the possibility of having to open them during the screening process. Small snow globes are allowed in carry-on luggage when packed in a passenger's plastic 3-1-1 bag.
  • Food: 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. For more detailed information, visit: http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/traveling-food-or-gifts
  • Children 12 and under and adults 75 and older: TSA has modified the screening procedures for children 12 and under and adults 75 and older.
  • Check for prohibited items: Travelers can use the “Can I bring my...” app on www.tsa.gov or www.tsa.gov/mobile to check what items are allowed/not allowed in carry-on and checked luggage. Smartphone users can easily download the “My TSA” app to quickly find helpful information about TSA policies and procedures.
  • Prepare for security: Have a U.S. federal or state-issued photo ID and boarding pass out and remove liquids and large electronics, including laptops, from carry-on baggage. Remember to remove shoes, outerwear, and bulky jewelry and empty pockets. Place valuable items in a carry-on bag.
  • TSA’s Wounded Warrior Screening program: This program allows expedited screening and curb to gate service for this trusted group of citizens. Wounded warriors or their care coordinators can contact TSA Cares toll free at 1-855-787-2227 with details of the itinerary once flight arrangements are made with the airline. In addition, at airport checkpoints nationwide, U.S. service personnel in uniform with proper identification, whether traveling on official orders or not, are not required to remove their shoes or boots unless they alarm the technology.
  • More Travel Tips: Check out TSA’s helpful Traveler Information site for more useful information to help ease the traveling public through security checkpoints. Additional holiday travel tips are available: http://blog.tsa.gov/2013/11/tsa-2013-holiday-travel-tips.html

For further questions about TSA procedures and upcoming travel, or to provide feedback or voice concerns, please call the TSA Contact Center (TCC) at 1-866-289-9673.  Travelers or families of passengers with disabilities and medical conditions may call the TSA Cares helpline toll free at 1-855-787-2227, 72 hours prior to traveling with any questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint.

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The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was created in the wake of September 11, 2001, to strengthen the security of the nation’s transportation systems and ensure the freedom of movement for people and commerce. Today, TSA secures the nation’s airports and screens all commercial airline passengers and baggage. TSA uses a risk-based strategy and works closely with transportation, law enforcement and intelligence communities to set the standard for excellence in transportation security. TSA’s workforce comprises approximately 50,000 frontline officers who screen approximately 1.8 million travelers each day at more than 450 airports nationwide. For more information about TSA, please visit our website at tsa.gov.