HONOLULU - The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is prepared for what is projected to be the busiest summer travel season ever when a record number of passengers will depart Daniel K. Inouye Honolulu International Airport (HNL) between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends.
TSA is joining the Hawaii Department of Transportation Airports Division in recommending that passengers departing HNL this summer arrive three hours prior to their scheduled flight departure during peak travel times in order to have time to park, check luggage, complete the security screening process and arrive at their gate.
Nationally, TSA is projecting that summer 2019 will see a 4% year-over-year increase in the number of travelers screened between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends. TSA expects to set new records for the highest number of travelers screened at airport across the country in a single day and in a single week.
Nine of the top 10 busiest weeks in TSA’s history occurred during the 2018 summer season. Many local airports including HNL will likely set records based on current projections.
“TSA is prepared for its busiest summer travel season on record,” said Jenel Cline, TSA Federal Security Director for Hawaii and the Pacific Islands. “We are committed to working closely with our airport and airline partners to ensure that our security operations are carried out in the most effective and efficient way. Travelers can assist us by taking a few minutes to prepare for the security screening process.”
“Hawaii’s popularity with travelers is positive for the overall economy in the state. More airlines entering the market means more options for the traveling public,” said Deputy Director Ross Higashi, Hawaii Department of Transportation Airports Division.
Last summer, TSA screened more than 5.3 million departing travelers at the five Hawaii airports that provide commercial air service. Of that total, more than 2.9 million of those departed from HNL.
TSA statewide is projecting that number to increase by at least 4% during the summer months. To support the surge of travelers, TSA Hawaii hosted recruitment and hiring events earlier this year to ensure it is fully staffed and prepared to meet operational demands. TSA will also utilize overtime as needed to extend the shifts of checkpoint security staff and convert existing part-time employees to full-time status.
At HNL, TSA will make every effort to staff all nine security checkpoints during peak departure times in an effort to reduce security wait times during the summer travel season. The increase in the number of travelers screened is being driven by recently added destinations, an increased number of flights and larger aircraft.
The busiest days for TSA at HNL are projected to be Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The busiest times each day will be 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. due to a concentrated number of flight departures over a short period of time. Every day this summer, there will be intervals when the number of departing passengers exceeds the capacity of TSA’s security checkpoints, making it essential that travelers arrive early and prepared.
Travelers departing HNL can get to any location in the airport from any security checkpoint, regardless of airline or assigned departure gate. TSA and airport personnel will work together closely to monitor the flow of passengers and adjust staffing to best meet the current demands.
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 in carry-on luggage. This includes knives; stun guns; self-defense and martial arts items. Use the “What Can I Bring” feature at TSA.gov 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 wearing slip-on shoes. Avoid bulky jewelry, scarves, hair accessories and large belt buckles. These types of items may require additional screening. 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 bag of travel-size liquids, gels and aerosols. When screened through a TSA Pre✓® lane, keep all of these items in your carry-on luggage.
- Enroll in TSA Pre✓®. It is not too late to enroll in TSA Pre✓® and enjoy the benefits of a streamlined security process at airports nationwide this summer. Travelers eligible for TSA Pre✓® can leave on their shoes, light outer wear and belt. They can also leave laptops and travel-size liquids in their carry-on bag for screening. Need another reason to enroll? In April 2019, 93% of travelers screened through a TSA Pre✓® lane waited five minutes or less to be screened through the security checkpoint. There are enrollment centers on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and two on the Island of Hawaii. Learn more at tsa.gov/precheck.
- AskTSA on social media. Question about what you can bring through the security checkpoint? Tweet or Message AskTSA weekdays from 2 a.m. to 4 p.m. HST and weekends and holidays from 3 a.m. to 1 p.m. HST.
To view a map of the nine security checkpoints at HNL or to get more information on the Wiki Wiki bus stations and parking garages at HNL, please click here. Travelers are also advised to get dropped off at HNL during the summer travel season. For those planning to park at the airport, more information can be found by here.