WASHINGTON – If you’re planning to fly for the Thanksgiving holiday, here are some steps that you can take now, well ahead of Thanksgiving, to help ensure that you won’t be a turkey when you get to a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security checkpoint at the airport.
Because TSA is well-aware that many people haven’t traveled in several months, here is what you need to do now to be prepared later.
Tip 1: Know what to expect when traveling during a global pandemic and don’t forget your mask
TSA has implemented changes to the security screening process to reduce the potential for cross-contamination in the security checkpoint known as the “Stay Healthy. Stay Secure.” campaign. It focuses on modifications to procedures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Passengers can expect to see:
- TSA officers wearing masks and gloves at the checkpoint, and they may be wearing eye protection or clear plastic face shields.
- Passengers wearing masks. Travelers will be asked to momentarily remove their masks to verify their identity. It never hurts to pack an extra mask or two for use during your air travels.
- Social distancing among travelers in the checkpoint line and among TSA officers.
- ID verification without physical contact between the TSA officer and the traveler.
- Acrylic shielding installed at various locations throughout the TSA checkpoint.
- Increased cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched checkpoint surfaces and screening equipment, including bins.
- TSA officers changing gloves after each pat-down and at the request of any passenger.
- Ability to bring one liquid hand sanitizer container, up to 12 ounces per passenger, in carry-on luggage. Be prepared to remove it from the carry-on for special screening.
Tip 2: Enroll in TSA PreCheck® now to expedite screening and reduce touchpoints.
Travelers who are enrolled in TSA PreCheck® don’t have to remove their shoes, belts, lightweight jackets, electronics or their bag of travel-size liquids and gels. Not only is that convenient, but during a pandemic, it reduces touchpoints since travelers will not need to remove those items. Now more than ever, TSA PreCheck is a valuable program for travelers. It’s simple to apply and if you do so in early November, you will likely be eligible for TSA PreCheck by Thanksgiving.
Tip 3: Know what foods you can bring with you before you commit to bringing that special dish to contribute to the Thanksgiving feast.
We know that many passengers like to travel with special foods to contribute to the Thanksgiving meal with family or friends. But did you know that there are some special steps you need to take when bringing food through the security checkpoint? If you’re traveling with food in your carry-on bag, TSA recommends that you remove it and place it in a bin for screening because food items can trigger a security alarm. To reduce potential cross-contamination, we recommend that food items are placed in a clear plastic bag. Upon entering the checkpoint, remove that clear bag with food and place it into the bin.
Not all foods can be transported in carry-on luggage. Follow this simple rule to ensure your food can travel with you: If you can spill it, spread it, spray it, pump it or pour it, pack it in a checked bag. For example, cranberry sauce, gravy and wine in quantities larger than 100 ml or 3.4 ounces should go in a checked bag. Cakes, pies and casseroles can travel in carry-on luggage.
Tip 4: Don’t wait: download the free myTSA app now.
The free, downloadable myTSA app is a traveler’s best friend and a trusty source for last-minute travel questions. The myTSA app provides airline passengers with 24/7 access to the most frequently requested airport security information. Save time and money with our helpful tips for preparing for security, including a searchable “Can I Bring” database All you need to do is type in the name of an item and the app will let you know if you should pack it in your checked or carry-on bag. Other features of the app include keeping you up-to-date on flight delays or letting you know where the TSA PreCheck lanes are at an airport or terminal. The app is available on iTunes or Google Play.
Tip 5: Follow TSA on Twitter to get tips and answers to your last minute questions.
If you’re unsure whether an item should go in a carry-on bag or you have any other last-minute questions, send them to @AskTSA on Twitter or Facebook Messenger. Follow @TSA on Twitter to learn some helpful travel tips that are posted regularly so you can be the savvy traveler this Thanksgiving travel season.