BILLINGS, Mont. - Just in time for the holiday travel season, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that it now offers blended lanes at 13 airports in Montana. Blended lanes provide TSA Pre✓® screening to eligible travelers and their carry-on luggage at smaller airports that do not have a dedicated TSA Pre✓® lane. At larger airports, blended lanes will be offered during off-peak hours when TSA Pre✓® passenger volume is too low to operate a dedicated TSA Pre✓® lane.
Using standard lanes to screen both TSA Pre✓® and non- TSA Pre✓® travelers, blended lanes increase the number of locations where TSA Pre✓®-eligible travelers receive full benefits of the program, which include:
- leaving on shoes, light outerwear and belt
- keeping laptops, electronics larger than a cell phone and travel-size liquids in carry-on luggage
- where feasible and space permits, dedicated TSA Pre✓® queues
Passengers who are already enrolled in TSA Pre✓® don’t need to do anything new to be screened through a blended lane. With blended lanes, TSA Pre✓® travelers may receive a card to identify them and their carry-on property as they go through the screening process at any time of day. Travelers should ensure they have entered their unique Known Traveler Number in their airline reservation to make them eligible for TSA Pre✓®.
Blended lanes became operational at some airports across the country earlier this year. In Montana, TSA began implementing blended lanes at Butte’s Bert Mooney Airport in October. Just recently, bended lanes became available at all of Montana’s commercial airports. Billings, Bozeman, Missoula, Glendive, and Wolf Point airports all have dedicated TSA Pre✓® lanes that operate nearly full-time.
The implementation of blended lanes comes just in time for the busy holiday travel season. TSA projects that the number of travelers will begin to increase starting Friday, Dec. 20 and stay busy throughout the weekend. Passenger volumes will pick up again starting Thursday, Jan. 2.
For people traveling during the holidays, here are some helpful tips from TSA:
- Use gift bags instead of wrapping paper. Wrapped items are screened just like any other item. If a wrapped item alarms the security screening technology in carry-on or checked luggage, a TSA officer may have to unwrap it to determine what the item is. Consider traveling with unwrapped items or placing them in a gift bag for easy access and resolution.
- Traveling with foods. Baked goods and other solid foods are allowed in carry-on luggage. This includes breads, cookies, candies and meats. However, jams, jellies, sauces or other liquids need to be in quantities of 3.4 ounces (100 ml) or less to travel in your carry-on. Any quantities larger than 3.4 ounces should be placed in checked baggage.
- Dress for security screening. Simplify your experience by avoiding bulky jewelry, scarves, hair accessories and large belt buckles since these types of items are likely to require additional screening. Remember to remove all items from your pockets and secure them in your carry-on bag before being screened at the security checkpoint.
- AskTSA on social media. Question about what you can bring through the security checkpoint? Tweet or Message AskTSA seven days a week.
- Enroll in TSA Pre✓®. Enrollment is simple. Start by visiting www.tsa.gov/precheck and select “Apply Now.” An in-person visit to the enrollment center is required to complete the application process. Permanent enrollment centers are located throughout the state.