DES MOINES, Iowa – The Transportation Security Administration and Des Moines International airport (DSM) are preparing for the start of the 2017 spring break travel period, which generally runs from late February through April.
TSA expects to screen approximately 62 million travelers at airports nationwide in March alone. At DSM, TSA expects to screen 110,000 passengers during that same month. DSM typically experiences a spike in passenger traffic in March as a result of spring break travel.
“As we approach the busy spring break travel period, we look forward to working with our partners here at the airport to screen passengers as efficiently as possible,” said TSA Assistant Federal Security Director Nic Menke. “Security remains our top priority, and we look forward to getting travelers to their destinations safely.”
“March is a busy time of year, and it can take longer to park, check in with the airline, and get through security,” said Airport Executive Director Kevin Foley. “We recommend that passengers arrive at least 1 ½ hours before their scheduled departure time to ensure a more enjoyable travel experience.”
Here are some additional TSA tools and travel tips to ensure a smooth checkpoint experience:
- Apply for a trusted traveler program, such as TSA Pre✓®, Global Entry, NEXUS, or SENTRI. These programs help improve security and provide an easier, more convenient travel experience. TSA Pre✓® enables identified low-risk travelers to enjoy a smart and efficient screening experience. For travelers using the TSA Pre✓® lane, there is no need to remove shoes, laptops, liquids, belts and light jackets at more than 180 U.S. airports when traveling on 30 participating airlines.
- Tweet or Message AskTSA. Issues receiving TSA Pre✓® on your boarding pass? Unsure if an item is allowed through security? Get live assistance by tweeting your questions and comments to @AskTSA or via Facebook Messenger, weekdays, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and weekends/holidays, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. You can also reach the TSA Contact Center at 866-289-9673.
- Know the TSA Pre✓® lane hours. For TSA Pre✓® members, a new web feature lists the operating hours for the TSA Pre✓® lanes at 26 large airports. Travelers can enter their airport, day of week and time of day of travel, and the tool will return the availability of a dedicated TSA Pre✓® lane(s).
- Arrive early. Consider adding time in your travel plans for traffic, parking, rental car returns and airline check-in.
- Prepare for security. Have a valid ID and boarding pass out and remove large electronics, including laptops and liquids bag from carry-on baggage. Avoid over packing your carry-on bag. Consider checking bags versus carry-on where feasible.
- Follow the liquids rule. Liquids, gels, aerosols, creams and pastes must be 3.4 ounces or less and all containers must fit inside a single quart-size plastic bag and be placed in a bin for carry-on baggage screening. This includes sun block and tanning lotions.
- Call TSA Cares. Travelers or families of passengers with disabilities and/or medical conditions may call the TSA Cares helpline toll free at 855-787-2227 at least 72 hours prior to flying with any questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint as well as arrange for assistance at the checkpoint.