TSA prepared for millions of spring break travelers

National Press Release
Monday, March 7, 2016

WASHINGTON — With the number of air travelers growing significantly year-over year, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) remains prepared to effectively screen the more than 65.1 million travelers expected to travel over the Spring Break travel season beginning in March.

TSA normally screens nearly 2 million passengers daily. With passenger volumes up more than 7 percent over the same time period last year, TSA expects passenger volumes to drastically increase throughout the month of March as spring breakers take to the skies and throughout the summer.

“Our dedicated officers do their absolute best to screen passengers both effectively and efficiently, with a primary focus on traveler security,” said Peter V. Neffenger, TSA administrator. “We want to ensure that everyone arrives at their destination safely, while at all times providing the highest standards of security screening possible.

“By following a few basic common-sense tips, the security screening process can be both effective and quick,” added Neffenger. “And while we never will compromise security, we will work to reduce checkpoint wait times wherever possible.”

Passenger preparedness can have a significant impact on wait times at security checkpoints nationwide. To facilitate the security screening process, TSA is reminding travelers to follow these tips:

  • Arrive early to the airport to allow enough time to park, get your boarding pass, check your baggage, and go through the checkpoint. We recommend arriving at U.S. airports up to three hours prior to international flights and up to two hours prior to domestic flights if not enrolled in TSA Pre✓®.
  • If possible, print out your boarding passes prior to arriving at the airport.
  • Know what is in your bag. Passengers who bring prohibited items to the checkpoint slow the screening process for themselves and everyone behind them. If in doubt about an item, use the “When I fly can I bring my…” tool on TSA.gov to make sure your item is permitted in carry-on and/or checked baggage.
  • Pack your liquids, aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes 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 put the items into your carry-on bag or into a bin when you get to the checkpoint. You may save time if you remove everything from your pockets before you get to the checkpoint.
  • Reducing the amount of congestion in your carry-on bag will enable it to move through screening faster.
  • Avoid wearing large metal jewelry or clothing with large metal embellishments to reduce the possibility of alarming the screening machine.
  • Pay close attention to the instructions that the TSA officers provide at the checkpoint. This helps the process move along efficiently.
  • Travelers who have medical conditions or disabilities are encouraged to call the TSA Cares toll-free helpline in advance of their trip at 1-855-787-2227 to ask about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the checkpoint. It is recommended to call 72 hours in advance of the trip.
  • Follow @AskTSA on Twitter. We’re responding to your questions in real time on Twitter from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST.

TSA expects checkpoint volume to increase significantly at many top spring break destinations:

Airport March 2015 daily volume March 2016 daily volume (predicted) Year over Year Growth
Orlando           60,580                68,545         13.1%
Phoenix           52,401                53,412          1.9%
Fort Lauderdale           45,276                48,497          7.1%
Minneapolis           36,405                38,031          4.5%
Tampa           31,681                33,099          4.5%
SW Florida International           21,104                22,908          8.5%
Salt Lake City           20,856                21,717          4.1%
Palm Beach           13,867                14,380          3.7%
Milwaukee           11,277                11,884          5.4%
Tucson            5,558                  5,906          6.3%

                                                                                             Information courtesy of TSA Security Operations

Small vacation tips that can make a big difference

  • Don’t get burned—Suntan lotion: If your favorite brand of suntan lotion is larger than 3.4 ounces, place it in your checked bag. If you are traveling with a carry-on bag only, consider purchasing the suntan lotion when you reach your destination.
  • Flip flop—Footwear: You’ll need to remove your shoes at the checkpoint, so wear footwear that is easy to slip on and off. Flip-flops perhaps?
  • Hold onto your hat—Lost & Found: People regularly leave items in the checkpoint bins. If you believe that any of your belongings might have been left behind at a checkpoint, visit TSA’s website and search under lost and found for a list of TSA lost and found offices to reclaim your item.
  • Stay connected—If you are traveling with a laptop or other large electronic items, tape a business card or other identification on it so that if you leave it at a checkpoint, TSA can contact you to make sure you get it back.

Questions about TSA procedures and upcoming travel can be addressed to the TSA Contact Center at 1-866-289-9673 or @AskTSA on Twitter.