WASHINGTON – The Transportation Security Administration is preparing for the start of the summer travel period, typically marked by the Memorial Day holiday weekend and continuing through Labor Day. Record numbers of passengers are expected at airports this summer, with peak travel periods occurring in June and July, including the July 4th weekend. During the busiest days of the summer, TSA will screen more than 2.5 million passengers per day.
Through the TSA Airport Operations Center and in coordination with airport and airline partners, TSA aims to maintain effective and efficient security operations at checkpoints nationwide during the busy travel season. The center tracks daily screening operations, rapidly addresses any issues that arise, and deploys personnel, canine teams and technology where needed. This summer, 50 more passenger canine teams will be in use compared to last summer, and 2,000 more TSA officers will be working this year compared to last year.
“As we approach the summer break, securing the travel of millions of passengers daily remains our top priority,” said TSA Acting Administrator Huban A. Gowadia. “It is well known that terrorists continue to focus on aviation, which is why TSA continues to focus on providing robust security screening. TSA takes many security measures, seen and unseen, while working closely with industry partners such as airlines and airports to enhance the traveling experience and ensure every passenger arrives to their destination safely.”
“TSA is tasked with a complex, critical security mission that can only be accomplished through close collaboration with stakeholders and partners. We will not compromise our security mission of protecting air travelers as we face an evolving threat by a determined enemy,” she said.
Additionally, TSA continues to team up with vendors and airlines, for instance, to develop and deploy innovative technologies at airports. Automated screening lanes offer several features designed to improve the screening of travelers this summer by allowing travelers to move more swiftly and efficiently through checkpoints. Fifty automated screening lanes are currently in operation at Newark Liberty International Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport and Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and more are expected to become operational in the coming months. These lanes are state-of-the-art in advancing security effectiveness, increasing efficiency, and improving the passenger experience.
With the increased volume during summer travel, delays at the airport may occur. Travelers can enhance their travel experience through the airport by arriving early. Passengers should expect that there may be delays for traffic, parking, rental car returns and airline check-in. Preparedness can have a significant impact on efficiency at security checkpoints nationwide, so travelers should arrive up to two hours in advance of their flight departure time for domestic travel and three hours for international flights when flying out of the nation’s busiest airports.
Some helpful tools and travel tips for the airport security checkpoint include:
- Apply for TSA Pre✓® or other trusted travel programs like Global Entry, NEXUS, or SENTRI. These programs help improve security and provide a more convenient travel experience by affording travelers access to TSA Pre✓® expedited screening lanes. Travelers using the TSA Pre✓® lane do not need to remove shoes, laptops, liquids, belts and light jackets at more than 180 U.S. airports. To find the program that best suits your travel needs, use the DHS trusted traveler comparison tool.
- 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 on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and on weekends/holidays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. You can also reach the Contact Center at 866-289-9673.
- Prepare for security. Avoid over packing your carry-on bag and consider checking bags when feasible. Remember to have a valid ID and boarding pass readily available. If you are traveling abroad, be aware of the recent changes to international travel carry-on items. Also read the FAQ or fact sheet about upcoming REAL ID requirements.
- 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 to find out what to expect at the security checkpoint as well as arrange for assistance at the checkpoint.
As a reminder, public awareness is key for supporting TSA’s security efforts. Travelers are encouraged to report suspicious activities, and remember, If You See Something, Say Something™. For individuals traveling abroad, please check the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Know Before You Go page to learn about required documentation.