TSA advises public to be prepared for surge in summer travel at SLC

Local Press Release
Tuesday, July 16, 2019

SALT LAKE CITY - The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) announced that today marks the beginning of the peak summer travel period. TSA projects it will screen more than 851,000 people through the security checkpoints between now and August 15, 2019, an average of 26,600 per day.

Last summer, TSA at SLC screened 2,660,000 people between the Friday before Memorial Day and the Tuesday after Labor Day. TSA’s passenger screening volume at SLC ranked 29th out of 427 airports nationwide. TSA is on pace to exceed last year’s summer travel volume at SLC.

“TSA has been planning for this surge in summer travel, working closely with our airport and airline partners. We are fully staffed and prepared,” said TSA Federal Security Director for Utah Mark Lewis. “We are committed to ensuring that our security operations are carried out efficiently and effectively.”

Nationally, TSA is projecting a 4% year-over-year increase in the number of travelers screened between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends. This summer, TSA has already experienced eight of its busiest days ever nationwide including Sunday, July 7, 2019, when it screened a record setting 2,795,014 people. TSA’s second busiest day ever was Friday, May 24 when 2,792,670 were screened. TSA anticipates setting additional single day records throughout the summer as the summer travel surge extends into August.

 To help travelers plan ahead, the busiest times at the SLC security checkpoints are projected to be:

  • 5 a.m. to 10 a.m.
  • 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The busiest days of the week at SLC are Thursdays and Fridays and Sundays and Mondays. Saturday mornings are especially busy with peak passenger volumes during the early morning hours through noon.

TSA advises travelers to arrive at the airport at least two hours prior to flight departure time to ensure they have time for every step of the travel process including parking, checking luggage, going through the security checkpoint and arriving at the gate. Airlines are routinely boarding flights 40 minutes prior to flight departure

Two of TSA’s busiest days ever at SLC occurred earlier this year. On Friday, March 29, 2019, TSA screened a record 31,228 individuals.  The second busiest day ever was three weeks earlier, Friday, March 8, 2019, when TSA screened 30,724 individuals.

The increase in the number of departing travelers is driven by an increased number of flights departing SLC, new destinations and larger aircraft for some flights. Salt Lake City is has become a favorite tourist destination for both domestic and international travelers.

To prepare for the summer travel season, TSA will utilize overtime to extend the shifts of TSOs and it has converted existing part-time employees to full-time status. TSA SLC will make every effort to staff all lanes in the security checkpoints during peak departure times in an effort to reduce security wait times. However, there may be times when the number of departing travelers exceeds the capacity of the checkpoints even with all lanes open, making it essential that travelers arrive early and prepared.

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 and avoid bulky jewelry and clothing, 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. Common examples of these devices include laptops, tablets, e-readers and handheld game consoles. Also, in the standard screening lanes, remove your bag of travel-size liquids, gels and aerosols.
  • TSA Pre✓® screening preparation. TSA operates dedicated TSA Pre✓® lanes at checkpoints in Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. When screened through a TSA Pre✓® lane, there is no need to remove any items from your carry-on luggage. In addition, you do not need to remove your shoes, belts and light jackets.
  • 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. Need another reason to enroll? Since Memorial Day Weekend 2019, 92% of travelers screened through a TSA Pre✓® lane waited five minutes or less to be screened through the security checkpoint. There is an enrollment center located at 3667 W. 1987 S., Building 6, just north of UT-201 and west of I215. 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 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. MDT and weekends and holidays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. MDT.