NEW ORLEANS – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) is ready for an anticipated surge in spring break travelers. Acrylic barriers and upgraded technology now reduce or eliminate physical contact between passengers and TSA staff.
The TSA offers serious tips for navigating the airport checkpoint. The first is to leave your gun at home or declare it to the airline and place it in a locked, hard-sided case in your checked baggage! While the number of passengers is substantially lower than during a pre-pandemic spring break season, the number of passengers bringing guns to the checkpoint at MSY is unfortunately higher. From January 1st through early March, 22 travelers - most recently on Tuesday - entered the checkpoint with a gun. For the same period last year, the number was 15.
“We are focused on the health and safety of our workforce and the traveling public,” said Arden Hudson, Federal Security Director for the State of Louisiana, noting that the TSA has installed new credential authentication technology for fewer touch points. “Passengers are separated from our officers by acrylic barriers and only need to pass them their ID or passport. Boarding passes are not needed at the checkpoint as the technology verifies their identify and confirms that they are flying that day.” Two lanes now have computed tomography equipment which uses complex algorithms to search for threats and allows TSA officers to rotate the images, thereby reducing the need to open bags.
Face masks for both employees and passengers are required throughout all domestic transportation modes, including airport security screening checkpoints and throughout the airport. Since the implementation of the federal face mask mandate for travelers on Feb 2, there has been good 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. Those who refuse to wear a mask face fines from the TSA and from the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) if the infraction occurs while flying. The TSA continues to work closely with all transportation partners to enable the highest security standards within a travel environment that helps reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Those flying to destinations like New Orleans 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. You must. 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 regardless of state and local laws.
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 @AskTSA or via Facebook 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 supporting a healthy and secure environment for our employees, airport personnel and airline passengers. For additional information about TSA procedures during COVID-19 as part of our “Stay Healthy. Stay Secure” campaign, visit tsa.gov/coronavirus.