TSA Alaska prepared for busiest summer travel season on record

Local Press Release
Tuesday, May 21, 2019

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) predicts that summer 2019 will be the busiest on record with an average increase of 6% in the number of travelers who will depart ANC between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Based on departing passenger projections developed in conjunction with all of the airlines that provide commercial air service in Alaska, TSA predicts it will screen an average of 50,000 departing passengers a week at ANC. That number will increase to 80,000 a week during the peak summer travel period, which starts in mid-July and continues into mid-August.

So far in 2019, passenger volumes statewide have increased slightly, about 1% over last year’s levels. However, the projected 6% increase in number of travelers screened exceeds the national summer travel outlook, which stands at a 4% increase.  

Alaska is a popular destination for tourists during the summer months, leading airlines to utilize larger aircraft with increased passenger capacity in several airports. In addition, airlines have added more flights to further meet the demand in the number of travelers flying in and out of Alaska.

To help travelers plan ahead, the busiest days of the week during the summer months at ANC’s security checkpoints are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The busiest time blocks are projected to be:

  • 4:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m.
  • 12 noon to 3 p.m.
  • 9 p.m. to midnight

TSA will ensure staff and security resources are in place to screen departing travelers. This will include utilizing overtime as needed to extend the shifts of checkpoint security staff to ensure passengers are screened as efficiently as possible.

Due to the high volume of travelers, TSA strongly advises people to arrive at the airport two hours prior to flight departure to ensure there is plenty of time to complete each step of the airport arrival, check-in, security process and flight departure process.

While TSA concentrates on aviation security, passengers can assist by coming to the airport prepared. Here are some helpful travel tips to make the security checkpoint experience go smoothly this summer and throughout the year:

  • Unpack your bag before you pack it - at home. By unpacking your bag fully and re-packing it before coming to the airport, you will avoid bringing items to the airport that are prohibited past the security checkpoint. This includes knives; firearms, firearm parts and ammunition; stun guns; and martial arts items. Use the “What Can I Bring” feature available on the TSA.gov website to help determine if an item is allowed in a carry-on bag or if it needs to be checked.
  • Dress for security screening. Simplify your screening experience by avoiding bulky jewelry, scarves, hair accessories, large belt buckles and boots since these types of items are likely to require additional screening. Wear slip-on shoes to save time. Remember to remove all items from your pockets – including cell phones - and secure them in your carry-on bag.
  • Standard screening preparation. In the standard screening lanes (non-TSA Pre✓® lanes), organize your carry-on bag so electronics larger than a cell phone can be quickly and easily accessed when at the security checkpoint. All electronic devices larger than a cell phone should be placed in bins for x-ray screening with nothing on top or below, similar to how laptops have been screened for several years. Also, in the standard screening lanes, remove the bag of travel-size liquids, gels and aerosols. Ensure they can also be accessed quickly and easily. When screened through a TSA Pre✓® lane, keep all of these items in your carry-on luggage.
  • AskTSA on social media. Question about what you can bring through the security checkpoint?  Tweet or Message AskTSA weekdays from 4 a.m. to 6 p.m. ADT and weekends and holidays from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. MDT.