The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has begun using a state-of-the-art computed tomography (CT) scanner in the security checkpoint at Huntsville International Airport (HSV).
“The technology reduces the number of bags that need to be opened to resolve a possible threat, meaning fewer touchpoints during the pandemic, as well as a streamlined screening experience,” said Federal Security Director Gail Linkins. “The CT machine employs a sophisticated algorithm to analyze the contents of each bag and allows TSA officers to rotate the image for a thorough analysis.”
When the CT is in use, travelers do not need to remove electronics, food or travel-size liquids from carry-on luggage. Passengers in the TSA Precheck program have that benefit regardless of whether the CT is in use and all travelers are encouraged to sign up for the program.
“One of Huntsville International Airport’s top priorities throughout the pandemic continues to be keeping passengers, tenants and employees safe”, said Rick Tucker, Huntsville International Airport CEO. “This is also a priority for our partners across the airport as evidenced by the Transportation Security Administration’s continued efforts to reduce touchpoints. HSV is pleased that TSA in Huntsville will now offer this new technology as we all continue to work to provide our region with a facility that continues to improve safety and that our customers can utilize comfortably.”
In addition to the use of technology, 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:
- All security officers wearing face masks and gloves during the screening process. If a security officer is working in close proximity to travelers, they are also required to wear eye protection or a face shield. Security officers will change their gloves after each screening position rotation, after a pat-down or upon a passenger’s request
- Reduced physical contact due to the installation of acrylic barriers at HSV that limit exposure between security officers and travelers when presenting their boarding pass and ID.
- Social distancing leading up to and in the security checkpoint environment.
- And through our partnership with HSV, increased frequency and intensity of cleaning and disinfecting surfaces in the security checkpoint including bins. This is no substitute for practicing good hygiene while traveling. Travelers are encouraged to wash their hands before and after going through the checkpoint.
Tip 1: Pack smart
Travelers should be aware of the contents of their carry-on bags and make sure they are not bringing prohibited items to the security checkpoint. 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 and @TSA_Gulf on Twitter to learn some helpful travel tips that are posted regularly so you can be the savvy traveler this holiday travel season. By planning ahead, travelers can avoid a bag check and maintain that touchless checkpoint experience.
Tip 2: Pack the essentials.
There are a few essential items that TSA encourages travelers to pack including:
- Bring and wear a mask when going through the security screening process. Bring extra masks for use during your air travels.
- Bring disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer. TSA is allowing travelers to bring one liquid hand sanitizer container, up to 12 ounces per passenger, in carry-on luggage. Be prepared to remove your large hand sanitizer container from your carry-on for special screening. Bring as many pre-moistened wipes as you like.
- Remember the 3-1-1 rule that other liquids, gels and aerosols must be 3.4 ounces or less and placed in a one-quart-sized clear plastic bag, and one per person.
- Bring photo identification - even if it has expired. If your driver’s license or state-issued ID expired on or after March 1, 2020, and you have been unable to renew at your state driver’s license agency, you may still use it as acceptable form of identification at the checkpoint. TSA will accept expired driver’s licenses or state-issued ID a year after expiration.
- Bring along an empty reusable beverage container (even an empty plastic water bottle). Fill it up on the secure side of the checkpoint after you go through screening. Because of the 3.4-ounce limit on the amount of liquids you can bring through a checkpoint, you aren’t permitted to bring that cup of coffee or bottle of water through the checkpoint. However, if you bring an empty reusable container, you can fill it up post-security and stay hydrated on your flight!
Tip 3: 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 any items from their carry-on bag. Now more than ever, TSA PreCheck is a valuable program for travelers. It’s simple to apply and if you act quickly, you may be eligible for TSA PreCheck ahead of the end-of-the-year travel period.
Tip 4: Use your carry-on, not the bins.
If you are not yet enrolled in TSA PreCheck® you will have to place your laptop, shoes, jacket, belt and 3-1-1 bag in the bin if the new CT machine is not in use. But instead of putting all those miscellaneous items like your keys, loose change, wallet, lip balm, tissues and phone into a bin, place them into your carry-on before you even enter the checkpoint. Less stress and fewer items touching a bin.
Tip 5: Pack those gifts, but skip the wrapping paper.
TSA recommends against wrapping gifts when packing them for a flight. Why? Because if a wrapped gift triggers an alarm, it will need to be unwrapped to examine the item and determine that it does not present a security threat. Instead of wrapping a gift, consider using a gift bag, a gift box or a festive bow so that wrapping paper does not need to be removed. TSA’s officer-elves don’t want to take on the role of Scrooge and unwrap someone else’s gift. However, they will have to if the item triggers a security alarm.
Tip 6: Don’t wait: download the free myTSA app and follow TSA on Twitter to get tips and answers to your last minute questions.
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 7: Know which food can be in your carry-on
If you are planning to travel with special foods to share for a holiday meal, be sure you 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, cookies and casseroles can travel in carry-on luggage.