Travelers flying out of Des Moines International Airport after caucus need to prepare

Local Press Release
Friday, January 31, 2020

DES MOINES, IA —  The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is increasing resources focused on airport security at Des Moines International Airport (DSM) leading up to and after the Iowa Caucus.

DSM is expected to see significantly more travelers than usual flying out of Des Moines on the day after the Iowa Caucus, meaning that the airport terminal will be significantly more congested. Travelers are advised to arrive at the airport at least two hours prior to their ticketed flight. Passengers should expect it will take longer to return a rental car, longer to check a bag and longer to get through security due to the larger than usual crowd of travelers.

On a typical weekday, approximately 4,000 passengers pass through the airport’s TSA security checkpoint. On Feb. 4, it is estimated closer to 6,000 passengers and crew members are going to be flying out of DSM, which is 50% more than usual. On Feb. 5, approximately 5,000 passengers will be flying out of the airport, a 25% bump in the number of individuals who typically depart on a weekday.

TSA has arranged for additional staffing, to include TSA officers from other airports across the state to assist at DSM. This will allow TSA the flexibility to dedicate more resources to staff TSA Pre✓® lanes for travelers who receive expedited screening and to the standard screening process (non-TSA Pre✓® travelers). There will also be increased law enforcement presence throughout the terminal and other airport locations.

In addition to arriving at the airport two hours prior to a scheduled flight, travelers can assist in checkpoint efficiency by properly preparing their belongings as follows.

  • Passengers should have their ID and boarding pass out and ready for review when they arrive at the TSA ticket document checking podium.
  • Passengers should be prepared to remove all electronics larger than a cell phone from their carry-on bags to be placed in a bin with nothing stacked above or below them to ensure that TSA officers can get a clear X-ray image of the items. This is noteworthy because it is common for reporters to travel with a host of electronic equipment.
  • Make sure lithium batteries are removed from any electronics that may be packed in checked bags and place them in a carry-on bag. This is especially important for representatives of media outlets whose video cameras use large lithium batteries.
  • Passengers should know what items must be transported in a checked or carry-on bag. Travelers who are not certain if an item should be transported in a carry-on bag, checked bag, either or neither can send a tweet or use Facebook Messenger @AskTSA to get live assistance.   
  • Passengers should consider downloading TSA’s free app. The MyTSA app has a handy feature entitled “What Can I bring?” in which travelers can quickly search which items you can bring with you through the checkpoint onto the airplane.