TSA provides tips to prepare air travelers before busy holiday season

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Local Press Release
Friday, December 4, 2015

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) today provided tips for travelers departing Idaho Falls Regional Airport (IDA) to prepare ahead of what is expected to be a very busy holiday travel system nationwide.

On average, TSA screens nearly 2 million passengers daily. During peak travel periods that number can increase by 40 percent. TSA security checkpoints will be fully staffed locally and nationwide during the holiday travel period. TSA remains committed to processing passengers as efficiently as possible, while maintaining our primary focus on security screening effectiveness.

While TSA concentrates on aviation security, passengers can assist by coming prepared to the airport. Unprepared passengers have a significant impact on wait times at security checkpoints nationwide. Here are some helpful travel tips to make the checkpoint experience go smoothly:

  • Unpack your bag before you pack it. Passengers who bring prohibited items to the checkpoint slow the screening process for themselves and everyone behind them. Use the “Can I Bring My…?” function on tsa.gov to determine if the item can travel in a carry-on, in checked baggage or not at all.
  • Prepare your liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes to be sure they are packed in compliance with the 3-1-1 liquids rule. Passengers who violate this rule will also cause delays for themselves and everyone behind them.
  • Remove all items from your pockets and secure the items in your carry-on bag to prevent them from being left behind in a bin. Your screening experience will go even faster if you remove everything from your pockets before you get to the checkpoint.
  • Avoid wearing large metal jewelry or clothing with large metal embellishments to reduce the possibility of alarming the screening machines.
  • Arrive early to the airport to allow enough time to park, get your boarding pass, check your luggage and go through the security screening process.
  • When traveling with gifts, place them in a gift bag instead of wrapping them. If a wrapped gift alarms, appears to have been tampered with, or poses any other security concerns, it will need to be unwrapped for additional screening.
  • Food items such as pies and cakes are permitted but may require further inspection. If you are not sure if a food item is considered a liquid or gel it is best to pack the item in your checked bag or ship it to your destination in advance.
  • Travelers who have medical conditions or disabilities and want to get a better understanding in advance of how best to prepare for the checkpoint process can call the TSA Cares toll-free helpline at 1-855-787-2227. It is recommended to call 72 hours in advance of the trip.

Now is the ideal time to enroll in TSA Pre✓® to enjoy the benefits of expedited screening during the holiday travel season. TSA Pre✓® is a program that allows enrolled passengers to leave on their shoes, light outerwear and belt. At some airports, travelers can also keep their laptop in its case and keep 3-1-1 compliant liquids/gels in a carry-on bag.

Currently, only travelers who are enrolled in a Department of Homeland Security Trusted Traveler program are eligible for TSA Pre✓® on a consistent basis. Enrollment is available at Wienhoff Drug Testing, 1230 N. Skyline Drive, Suite A in Idaho Falls. It is open Tuesday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

To begin the process, individuals can pre-enroll online at universalenroll.dhs.gov. Click on the words “TSA Pre✓®” in the middle of the page. Follow the prompts to learn what documentation is required and to set up an appointment to visit the enrollment center.

Applicants are required to make an in-person visit to an enrollment center to verify citizenship immigration status, as well as to provide fingerprints. While appointments are recommended, walk-ins are also accepted.

Once vetted and approved, passengers will receive a Known Traveler Number (KTN), which makes them eligible for TSA Pre✓® on a consistent basis. There is a non-refundable application processing fee of $85 and the KTN is good for five years.

Travelers are encouraged to save their KTN in their frequent flyer profiles. Additionally, those who purchase tickets via a third-party website or travel agency should manually enter their KTN each time they make an airline reservation.

If a passenger is eligible for TSA Pre✓®, a code is embedded in the barcode of the boarding pass. A TSA officer will scan the barcode at the checkpoint and the passenger will be referred for expedited screening. If no dedicated TSA Pre✓® lane is available, the passenger is still eligible to leave on their shoes, light outerwear and belt during the security screening process.

A passenger must be traveling on a participating airline to receive the expedited screening benefits of TSA Pre✓®. Two airlines that serve IDA participate in TSA Pre✓®: SkyWest/Delta Air Lines and United Airlines.

To learn more about TSA Pre✓®, visit tsa.gov/tsa-precheck. For more information on other DHS trusted traveler programs that include TSA Pre✓® eligibility, visit dhs.gov/tt.

Public awareness is key to supporting TSA’s security efforts, so “If You See Something, Say Something™.” For further information about TSA procedures, or to provide feedback or voice concerns, please call the TSA Contact Center at 1-866-289-9673 or send a message via Twitter to @AskTSA.