TSA Administrator: More travelers flying this upcoming holiday period, arrive early

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In addition to removing electronics larger than a cellphone, TSA recommends separating foods, powders and items that can clutter bags to facilitate screening process
National Press Release
Tuesday, December 18, 2018

WASHINGTON – The Transportation Security Administration expects a high volume of flyers this upcoming holiday travel period. Between Dec. 19 and Jan. 5, TSA estimates 41 million passengers will travel through security screening checkpoints nationwide, an increase of 6 percent from 2017.


“We have experienced several record-breaking travel days this year, to include the busiest travel day this past Thanksgiving, so we are prepared for a very busy period leading up to Christmas and through the New Year holiday,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “TSA’s layered approach to security and its dedicated screening workforce will be hard at work securing the aviation system, from the moment travelers make their flight reservation to when they arrive at their destination this holiday season.”

Travelers should arrive early to allow enough time to check in and get through the security screening process. In addition to screening personal electronic devices separately, including laptops, tablets, e-readers and handheld game consoles, TSA officers may instruct travelers to separate other items from carry-on bags such as foods, powders, and any materials that can clutter bags and obstruct clear images on the X-ray machine. Keeping carry-on bags organized can ease the screening process and keep the lines moving.

Stronger security measures were rolled out to all airports earlier this year. Passengers may experience more checks and additional screening of their bags. Items that cannot be identified and resolved at the checkpoint are prohibited from entering the cabin of the aircraft. Pre-screened travelers, TSA Pre✓® members, will continue to receive the benefit of expedited screening by not having to remove shoes, the 3-1-1 liquids bag, laptops, light outerwear jackets, or belts.

Travelers can get assistance in real time by submitting their questions to @AskTSA on Twitter or Facebook Messenger on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and on weekends/holidays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET. Travelers can also reach the TSA Contact Center at 866-289-9673. Staff is available from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends/holidays; and an automated service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.