BUFFALO, N.Y. – The number of passengers expected to fly this summer is expected to be the highest in years with more than 2.5 million passengers per day expected to pass through Transportation Security Administration checkpoints.
TSA officers at Buffalo-Niagara International Airport (BUF) will screen more than 9,000 passengers per day on a the busiest travel days this summer, the most passengers screened per day at any of the upstate New York airports. More than 263,000 travelers will be screened per month during July and August, the busiest travel months of the year at BUF Airport. That’s more than one half million travelers coming through the airport’s checkpoint in July and August.
TSA is prepared for the summer travel season, with peak travel period having kicked off Memorial Day and extending through August. Some of the busiest days of the summer are expected to be the days leading up to and immediately after major holidays, but most summer days will seem like holiday time with the increase in passengers expected throughout the summer.
“During the months preceding the start of the summer travel season, TSA in Buffalo has been planning to ensure that we are prepared to meet the added volume of passengers who are travelling to be on vacation or visiting their families. As a result, our checkpoints here at Buffalo are fully staffed for the busy summer travel season and the TSA officers are preparerd to help guide passengers through the checkpoint screening process,” said Bart Johnson, TSA’s federal security director for upstate New York.
“We urge travelers to come prepared to go through the screening process and to listen to the guidance that the TSA officers are providing once passengers enter the checkpoint,” he said. “Given the current threat environment, our TSA officers are very focused on the security of our travelers and in doing so, they offer helpful guidance as passengers go through the screening process.”
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, nationwide, 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 hit the summer season, 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.
The best way to ensure a quick trip through the security screening process is to prepare, prepare, prepare because there will be thousands of people flying out of the Buffalo area daily.
Passenger preparedness can have a significant impact on wait times at security checkpoints nationwide. To facilitate the security screening process, travelers should arrive early to BUF Airport. It is recommended that travelers arrive two hours in advance of their domestic flight and three hours prior to an international flight to ensure that they have time to park their cars or return rental cars, check their bags with their airline, get their boarding pass and hit the restroom—all before heading to the security checkpoint.
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. To find the trusted traveler program that best suits your travel needs, use the DHS trusted traveler comparison tool. 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. Find the program that best suits your travel needs. To get additional information about TSA Pre✓®, visit the frequently asked questions page on the TSA website.
- 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. - 10 p.m. and on weekends/holidays from 9 a.m. - 7 p.m. You can also reach the Contact Center at 866-289-9673.
- Prepare for security when packing. Put large liquids, gels, creams and aerosols, into checked bags such as shampoo, conditioner, suntan lotion, shaving cream and anti-perspirant. If you’ve only got a carry-on bag, make sure all of your liquids follow the 3-1-1 rule outlined below. And it’s important to make sure that you’ve got no prohibited items in your luggage. Check TSA’s web site feature “When I fly, can I bring my ________?” at tsa.gov. Type in an item and find out immediately if you can bring it in your carry-on bag, checked bag, either or neither.
- Follow the 3-1-1 liquids rule for your carry-on bag. When packing a carry-on bag, it is important to remember that liquids, gels, aerosols, creams and pastes must be 3.4 ounces or less and all bottles must fit in a single quart size plastic bag and placed in a bin for screening. This includes sun block and tanning sprays. Let the TSA officer know right away if you’re traveling with larger quantities of medically-necessary liquid medications or breast milk or formula for an infant.
- Be ready when you enter the checkpoint line: Have an acceptable ID and boarding pass out of your wallet and ready to hand to the TSA officer. Once you get to the divesting tables, remove large electronics including laptops and the 3-1-1 compliant liquids bag, from carry-on baggage.
- Consider minimizing items that you wear to the airport such as bulky jewelry, scarves, hair accessories, large belts and other bulky items as these articles are likely to require additional screening. Remove all items from your pockets and put them into one of your carry-on bags so you won’t lose them.
- Check the bins: Equally important, travelers are reminded to check the bins when collecting all belongings after going through screening and before leaving the checkpoint screening area. Often, travelers leave behind laptops, cameras, phones and loose change.
- The TSA Contact Center is available to answer questions by email and phone at 1-866-289-9673. Staff is available from 8 a.m. - 11 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. - 8 p.m. weekends/holidays; and an automated service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- 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.