Thanksgiving travel period security checkpoint wait times at or below 2005 levels - TSA, airports, airlines and passengers play role in short waits at security

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National Press Release
Thursday, November 30, 2006

WASHINGTON – The Transportation Security Administration, Air Transport Association (ATA) and Airports Council International - North America (ACI-NA) unveiled post-Thanksgiving security wait time data and a sampling of airline load factors today.

From Wednesday, Nov. 22 through Monday, Nov. 27, wait times at security checkpoints in the nation's airports were less than or equal to wait times during the same period in 2005.


Average Peak Wait Times
At 40 Busiest Airports

Number Of Passengers
Screened At All Airports

Nov. 22, 2006



Nov. 23, 2006



Nov. 24, 2006



Nov. 25, 2006



Nov. 26, 2006



Nov. 27, 2006



"Because of the unprecedented cooperation of America's air travelers, airports from coast to coast, the airlines and the TSA, we were able to quickly and efficiently screen millions of passengers with little or no delay," said Kip Hawley, TSA administrator. "Passengers' preparation for screening and our partners' efforts to assist us both had major impacts on this successful Thanksgiving holiday travel season."

Airlines worked to inform their passengers of air travel rules at the time of booking as well as at the airport. Some of these efforts included: 3-1-1 guidance in confirmation e-mails, links and information on airline Web sites, extensive signage at ticket counters and training of airline personnel.

"A sampling of ATA members revealed that the average load factor increased an estimated two percent compared to the prior year," said ATA President and CEO James C. May. "Transporting passengers this holiday was no small feat given the new TSA security measures and the weather encountered the day before Thanksgiving. We were ready for this holiday and we will be equally ready for the winter holidays as well."

The nation's airports were also instrumental in the overall success of the aviation industry during this, the busiest single week of the year. Airports from coast to coast took an active role by placing 3-1-1 signage in strategic locations leading to security checkpoints, allocating employees to the area in front of the security checkpoint to assist passengers and working in the local community to spread the word on recently changed air travel rules.

"Thanks to the extra effort made by airport staff and volunteers, excellent outreach to their communities about the new rules and restrictions, and close cooperation with our airline and TSA partners, airports experienced smooth operations during Thanksgiving travel," said ACI- NA President Greg Principato. "We anticipate that holiday travel in December will be equally as successful."

As the TSA, ATA and ACI-NA turn their attention toward the next holiday travel season, they continue to remind passengers of the 3-1-1 rule for carry-ons:

  • All liquids, gels and aerosols must be placed in a three ounce or smaller container
  • These containers should be placed in a one quart, clear, plastic, zip-top bag
  • One bag per passenger placed in a plastic bin for screening

Below are other tips travelers should know before they leave home this holiday season. A full list of tips and prohibited items is available.

Pack smart. Bringing prohibited items to the airport will cause delays in the screening process for you and other passengers. If you're not sure what items are allowed, check TSA's Web site for a complete list.

Do not wrap gifts. During the screening process, it is sometimes necessary to closely inspect items. Wrapped gifts delay the screening process and will not be re-wrapped by security officers.

Arrive on time. Arrival time recommendations vary by airline and day of travel, so check with your carrier. You must have a boarding pass and valid government photo ID to enter the security checkpoint. Remember to give yourself adequate time to check your baggage and move through security.

Dress the part. Metal in your clothing may set off the walk-through metal detector. Pack coins, keys, jewelry, belt buckles and other metal items in your carry-on bag. Remember that all shoes must be removed and screened by TSA. Passengers will also need to remove blazers, suit coats and bulky sweaters in addition to outer garments.

Film. Undeveloped film should go in your carry-on bag. Hand film that is faster than 800-speed to a security officer for physical inspection to avoid being X-rayed.