TSA recognizes the concerns members of the transgender community may have with undergoing the security screening process at our Nation’s airports and is committed to conducting screening in a dignified and respectful manner. These travel tips will explain the various screening processes and technologies travelers may encounter at security checkpoints.
Preparing for Travel
Making Reservations: Secure Flight requires airlines to collect a traveler’s full name, date of birth, gender and Redress Number (if applicable) to significantly decrease the likelihood of watch list misidentification. Travelers are encouraged to use the same name, gender, and birth date when making the reservation that match the name, gender, and birth date indicated on the government-issued ID that the traveler intends to use during travel.
Packing a Carry-on: All carry-on baggage must go through the screening process. If a traveler has any medical equipment or prosthetics in a carry-on bag, the items will be allowed through the checkpoint after completing the screening process. Travelers may ask that bags be screened in private if a bag must be opened by an officer to resolve an alarm. Travelers should be aware that prosthetics worn under the clothing that alarm a walk through metal detector or appear as an anomaly during Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) screening may result in additional screening, to include a thorough pat-down. Travelers may request a private screening at any time during the security screening process.
Contacting TSA in Advance of Travel: Travelers may contact TSA prior to a flight through the TSA Contact Center at 1-866-289-9673 and TSA-ContactCenter@dhs.gov.
The Screening Process
Private Screening: Screening can be conducted in a private screening area with a witness or companion of the traveler’s choosing. A traveler may request private screening or to speak with a supervisor at any time during the screening process.
Travel Document Checker: The traveler will show their government-issued identification and boarding pass to an officer to ensure the identification and boarding pass are authentic and match. Transgender travelers are encouraged to book their reservations such that they match the gender and name data indicated on the government-issued ID.
Walk Through Metal Detector: Metal detectors are in use at all airports.
Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT): Screening with advanced imaging technology is voluntary and travelers may “opt out” at any time. Travelers who “opt out” of the AIT screening are required to undergo a thorough pat-down by an officer of the same gender as the traveler presents.
New Advanced Imaging Technology Software: TSA has upgraded all millimeter wave advanced imaging technology units with new software called Automated Target Recognition to further enhance privacy protections by eliminating the image of an actual traveler and replacing it with a generic outline of a person.
Pat-Down: A pat-down may be performed if there is an alarm of the metal detector, if an anomaly is detected using advanced imaging technology, if an officer determines that the traveler is wearing non-form fitting clothing, or on a random basis. If a pat-down is chosen or otherwise necessary, private screening may be requested. Pat-downs are conducted by an officer of the same gender as presented by the individual at the checkpoint.
Prosthetics: Travelers should neither be asked to nor agree to lift, remove, or raise any article of clothing to reveal a prosthetic and should not be asked to remove it.
Behavior Detection Program: Behavior Detection Officers screen travelers using non-intrusive behavior observation and analysis techniques to identify potentially high-risk passengers. Officers are designed to detect individuals exhibiting behaviors that indicate they may be a threat to aviation and/or transportation security. Individuals exhibiting specific observable behaviors may be referred for additional screening, which can include a pat-down and physical inspection of carry-on baggage.
TSA recognizes that exhibiting some of these behaviors does not automatically mean a person has terrorist or criminal intent. Referrals for additional screening are solely based on specific observed behaviors.
Reporting Travel Issues or Concerns
Travelers who believe they have experienced unprofessional conduct at a security checkpoint are encouraged to request a supervisor at the checkpoint to discuss the matter immediately or to submit a concern to TSA’s Contact Center at: TSA-ContactCenter@dhs.gov.
Travelers who believe they have experienced discriminatory conduct because of a protected basis may file a concern with TSA’s Office of Civil Rights & Liberties, Ombudsman and Traveler Engagement at: Civil Rights for Travelers.
Travelers may also file discrimination concerns with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties at: Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.