TSA remains committed to the health and safety of our frontline workers and airline travelers. So as you begin traveling once again, you may notice a few changes to airport screening procedures. Not to worry though, these changes are designed to help contain the spread of COVID-19 and to keep you safe and healthy. Here’s what you should know the next time you arrive through a TSA checkpoint.
What’s new with TSA officers?
To minimize the spread of COVID-19, you’ll see TSA officers at the checkpoint taking specific health measures for everyone’s benefit. For starters, TSA officers wear masks and gloves during the screening process.
In fact, did you know TSA officers wear TSA-issued gloves during screening & will use a new pair after each pat down or upon your request? It’s true. All you have to do is ask. Officers also inspect their gloves regularly & replace them as necessary.
Wherever possible, our officers are also limiting physical contact with passengers and their belongings. For example, when screening for explosive materials, our officers will use a swab to do so. Well now a fresh swab will be used for each passenger if testing is required.
Go the distance
Your six feet might be different than our six feet. Leave the guess work to us. Next time you’re entering a TSA checkpoint; you’ll notice indicators marked on the floor. These markings intend to keep you and your fellow travelers safe from one another. So the next time you arrive at the airport, make sure to stand on the designated spot until you’ve been asked to proceed through screening.
Shielding you from germs
You’ll now notice plastic shielding installed at various locations throughout the TSA checkpoint. Similar to those you’ll find now at grocery store registers or at a bank, these shields are designed to protect you and the TSA workforce. You might even see shielding at the baggage drop-off location with an opening to push your baggage through. It’s just an additional layer of protection to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Scan yourself in
Getting your boarding pass and Identification verified has now gotten easier and safer. Gone are the days when you actually had to hand your ID to an TSA officer. Now, you’ll be able to get your identification verified without any physical contact between you and a TSA officer. However, the TSA officer may ask you to temporarily lower your face mask to verify you are who you say are.
Disinfecting common areas
TSA officers keep you safe and now healthy as well. The TSA workforce routinely cleans and disinfects frequently touched checkpoint surfaces as well as equipment. This is designed to minimize cross-contamination and protect you and your loves ones against COVID-19. Before heading to the airport this summer, do your part and be sure to pack smart! The less items you have to remove for screening, the easier it’ll be to get through security.
Speaking of disinfecting, TSA now allows each passenger to bring along one 12-ounce bottle of sanitizer with them through carry-on. We only ask that you remove the bottle from your bag for screening by the TSA officer. That way, after you’re done at the TSA checkpoint, you can have that bottle handy to disinfect your hands before moving on to the gate area – germ free!
Here’s a tip! Want to zip through security? Consider signing up to TSA PreCheck™ to be able to keep your shoes, light jacket, and belt on and leave your laptop and 3-1-1 liquids bag in your carry-on. Sign up today!
Know before you go
Be sure to check with your airlines before you arrive at the airport. Many airlines and even airports are providing specific COVID-19 guidance. You don’t want to be turned away for not being prepared.
So as you make plans for your next flight, be sure to give yourself plenty of time and arrive at least two hours earlier than your scheduled flight.
For more information about the TSA response to COVID-19 and other adjustments TSA has made at airport screening checkpoints, be sure to visit tsa.gov/coronavirus.
For additional questions ask the experts! Our AskTSA Customer Care team is available daily on Twitter and Facebook to answer any travel-related questions you have. You can also call our customer service center at (866) 289-9673. You can also check out the latest updates on traveling healthy in light of COVID-19 here.