WASHINGTON – As more than 200 million passengers begin their summer travel, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reminds travelers of recent modifications to airport screening procedures and provides tips for travel preparations.
As part of TSA's risk-based security approach, the agency has implemented changes in screening protocols that strengthen aviation security by better focusing its resources and, at the same time, improving the travel experience for lower risk passengers. Summer travelers may be able to take advantage of these modifications at airports across the country.
The changes include the implementation last fall of modified screening procedures for passengers 12 and younger. Passengers 12 and younger can now leave their shoes on during security screening. These new screening procedures also include permitting an additional pass through advanced imaging technology to clear any alarms, as well as greater use of explosives trace detection.
Additionally, TSA recently concluded a modified screening pilot program for passengers aged 75 and older. As the program proceeds toward full implementation, passengers 75 and older will undergo similar modified screening procedures to those 12 and under and will be able to leave on a light jacket or outerwear when passing through security. Passengers 75 and older may see these procedures in place as they travel this summer.
TSA anticipates these changes will further reduce – though not eliminate – the need for a physical pat-down for these passengers. However, the agency reminds travelers that they may be required to remove their shoes or undergo a pat-down if anomalies are detected during security screening that cannot be resolved through other means.
Last fall, the agency also launched TSA Pre✓™. To date, TSA Pre✓™ has provided expedited screening to more than one million passengers and is currently available at 15 airports, with plans to expand to more airports and airlines throughout 2012.
As the busy summer travel season gets underway, TSA reminds passengers to prepare for the security check-in process before arriving at the airport. Passengers can find travel tips and a list of allowed and prohibited items on www.tsa.gov. Passengers with smartphones are also encouraged to visit TSA's mobile site or download the "MyTSA" app. Passengers can access helpful information about TSA policies and procedures including the "Can I Bring" feature that allows passengers to type the name of any item to see if it is allowed to be carried through the checkpoint.
As an added convenience, the TSA Contact Center (TCC) recently extended its hours, and representatives are now available Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 11 p.m. Eastern time, and weekends and federal holidays, 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. Eastern time. Passengers can contact the TCC with questions about TSA procedures, upcoming travel or to provide feedback or voice concerns. The TCC can be reached at 866-289-9673.
Travelers and families of passengers with disabilities or medical conditions may call the TSA Cares helpline toll free at 855-787-2227, 72 hours prior to traveling with any questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint. A TSA Cares helpline representative is available during all TSA Contact Center hours.