WASHINGTON – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has substantial efforts underway in preparation for spring break travelers, who typically travel late February through April. Those efforts include technology upgrades across airport checkpoints that reduce or eliminate physical contact, recruitment efforts to prepare for possible increasing passenger volumes, and vaccination efforts for our officers and personnel who regularly engage directly with members of the public.
Although spring break typically represents one of TSA’s busier travel seasons, the agency continues to anticipate average daily passenger volume will remain well below pre-pandemic levels. For individuals who choose to travel, TSA offers six tips for navigating the airport checkpoint most efficiently and reminds passengers that pandemic precautions remain in place with social distancing, acrylic barriers, nitrile gloves and routine disinfecting protocols throughout the checkpoint.
“There is no higher priority than our operational readiness as well as the health and safety of our workforce and the traveling public,” said Darby LaJoye, Senior Official Performing the Duties of the TSA Administrator. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve installed new credential authentication technology and computed tomography equipment at hundreds of checkpoints that greatly reduces the need for physical contact between our officers and the traveling public.”
On Jan. 21, DHS launched Operation Vaccinate Our Workforce (VOW) with the goal of accelerating COVID-19 vaccinations to its frontline employees. TSA leaders have encouraged employees to obtain a vaccine through this effort or to take advantage of getting vaccinated through local, state and federally supported vaccination sites.
Face masks for both employees and passengers are required throughout all domestic transportation modes, including airport security screening checkpoints. Since the implementation of the face mask mandate for travelers on Feb 2, there has been near-100 percent compliance at airport checkpoints and authorities have reported the same throughout the surface and rail transportation modes, which together safely transport millions of individuals per day. TSA continues to work closely with its airport and surface transportation partners to enable the highest security standards within a travel environment that helps reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Those who choose to travel by commercial airline for spring break should follow these six tips for getting through the TSA checkpoint as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Tip 1: Wear a face mask. The federal requirement supports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Emergency Order mandating face masks be worn on all public conveyances and at stations, ports, or similar transportation hubs.
Tip 2: Leave prohibited items at home. To reduce the likelihood of physical contact with TSA officers at the checkpoint, check for prohibited items by using the “What Can I Bring?” page on TSA.gov.
Tip 3: Prepare for the security checkpoint. Have a valid ID card readily available. Follow the liquids rule of 3.4 ounces or less, with the exception of hand sanitizer, which has a temporary 12-ounce limit in carry-on baggage.
Tip 4: No guns at checkpoints. Airline passengers can fly with firearms only in checked baggage. All firearms must be properly packed and declared at check-in. Contact your airline for additional guidance.
Tip 5: Help is always available. Get live assistance by tweeting your questions and comments to @AskTSAFacebook Messenger, weekdays from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST and weekends/holidays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST. You can also call the TSA Contact Center at 866-289-9673.
Tip 6: Enroll now in TSA PreCheck®. “Travel with Ease” by enrolling in TSA PreCheck and avoid removing shoes, belts, liquids, food, laptops and light jackets. Most new enrollees receive a known traveler number within five days, and membership lasts for five years.
TSA is committed to remaining transparent with the traveling public while supporting a healthy and secure environment for our employees and airline passengers. For additional information about TSA procedures during COVID-19 as part of our “Stay Healthy. Stay Secure” campaign, visit tsa.gov.