Airport security is no laughing matter, but TSA is doing its part to help travelers prepare for their trips through the nation’s airports while having some ‘ha ha, funny’ moments along the way.
“I’ve always thought that people won’t remember what they read or what they saw, but they will remember the joke you told them,” said TSA Social Media Manager Janis Burl. “My goal is to make sure people remember the travel tips, so when they get to the airport, they can get through security quickly and smoothly.”
NBC-TV took notice of TSA’s efforts to reach kids and their families through humor. NBC Nightly News Anchor Lester Holt interviewed Burl for the network’s kids edition, spotlighting the TSA social media team’s new video series designed just for kids to try to make the travel process a little easier. Through the humor, each video offers important advice on what travelers can bring on a plane and what they can’t.
Burl told Holt she got the idea to produce the travel tips videos for kids after seeing Holt talk about creating a news program for kids during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“My thought was, ‘What a brilliant idea, and I should be able to do that for TSA,’” said Burl. “So, thanks to you, we have created a program where we can create travel tips for kids.”
After accepting the compliment, Holt said, “A lot of kids and grown-ups are bound to get hungry when they’re flying. You have a video explaining what kids should know about packing snacks. And there was some really important information (for adults as well). We know some of the snacks you can carry in your bag. Are there any snacks you can’t bring through TSA?”
“We don’t want you to bring any snacks like pudding or Jell-O that are more than 3.4 ounces,” Burl replied. “Any liquid or anything that’s jelly-like and is more than 3.4 ounces cannot go, but solid foods – you’re good to go, like sandwiches and pizza.”
Laptops and electronics are significant among today’s youth, but even though travelers are required to take their electronics out of their carry-on bags at the checkpoint, Burl assured Holt and young travelers TSA’s officers will take care of their video games and other electronic toys.
“We will not mess up or erase any of those great scores you already have in your games,” Burl emphasized. “And we won’t hurt the games in any way.”
With Labor Day weekend just a couple of days away, Holt asked Burl about traveling during the end-of-summer holiday period.
“I would advise everybody to get to the airport early, because everybody will be traveling,” said Burl. “Read the instructions (displayed) around the checkpoint. Please listen to the officers. They are there to help you get through security quickly, and just be patient.”
Burl credits Omayra Somarriba, who is on detail from Miami International Airport, for producing the TSA kids videos.
“Without Omayra, none of this is possible,” Burl said. “It’s her hard work. It was just my vision. Omy is the true rock star here.”
Burl added, “My team, as a whole, is fantastic. They work hard. We just enjoy what we do.”
“Bravo to the whole bunch,” Holt said as he closed the news segment. “We really appreciate what you do, and that, of course, is making sure we’re safe on board airplanes.”
You can watch TSA Social Media Manager Janis Burl’s entire interview with NBC Nightly News Anchor Lester Holt here (Starting at 9:09 of the program).
By Don Wagner, TSA Strategic Communications & Public Affairs