BOISE, Idaho – Officials with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Boise Airport (BOI) on Thursday shared that current air travel projections for BOI over the next three months indicate this summer may be the busiest on record for the airport and local TSA operations.
“TSA expects to have its busiest summer ever at BOI, screening more travelers than ever before thanks to new air service routes and an increase in the number of departing flights,” said TSA Federal Security Director for Idaho Andy Coose. “Pent up travel demand combined with the success of the nation’s vaccination efforts will require TSA to be ready to ensure the security of all travelers departing BOI and airports nationwide.”
Annually, the summer travel season ramps up starting with Memorial Day weekend. This year appears to be no different. National passenger throughput trends over the past few months have shown sustained travel volumes. In the month of April, TSA screened at least 1 million people at airports nationwide every day and that number has continued to steadily increase in May.
Locally, TSA and BOI officials are predicting travel volumes during the summer months to increase on average 20% over 2019’s pre-pandemic levels. The monthly breakdown shows airline capacity growth at 12% in June, 21% in July and 30% in August.
The busiest times at the TSA security checkpoint at BOI are 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The busiest days to travel are Thursdays and Fridays as well as Sundays and Mondays.
These peaks are driven by the flight departure schedules determined by the airlines. When there is a concentrated number of flight departures over a short period of time, there will be intervals when the number of departing passengers exceeds the capacity of the TSA security checkpoint at BOI. This is why it is essential that travelers arrive two hours prior to flight departure to allow for completion of every step of the travel process from curb to gate.
Due to the upswing in air travel, TSA has expanded its efforts to hire security screening officers at BOI and nationwide to ensure checkpoint lanes are fully staffed to screen the ever increasing number of travelers. As an incentive to join the agency, TSA will pay newly-hired TSOs $500 upon starting with the agency and $500 after one year of service with TSA. To qualify for the recruitment incentive, the employee must come onboard with TSA between now and September 30, 2021. To view open positions, visit https://jobs.tsa.gov.
Over the past several months, TSA has modified its procedures as part of its “Stay Healthy. Stay Secure.” campaign. Travelers departing BOI and airports across the country can expect to see:
- All security officers wearing face masks and gloves during the screening process. Security officers will change their gloves after each screening position rotation, after a pat-down or upon a passenger’s request.
- All travelers wearing a mask in the airport and at TSA airport screening checkpoints. The federal requirement to wear a mask has been extended until September 13, 2021. Face coverings need to cover the nose and mouth and fit snugly against the sides of the face without gaps. A TSA officer will ask travelers to briefly adjust their mask for ID verification purposes. Travelers without a mask may be denied entry, boarding, or continued transport. Failure to comply with the mask requirement can result in civil penalties.
- Social distancing leading up to and in the security checkpoint environment.
- 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.
Here are some additional tips to remember during the summer travel season:
Step 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. To determine whether an item is allowed or prohibited in carry-on luggage, download the MyTSA app and use the “Can I Bring?” feature. By planning ahead, travelers can avoid a bag check and reduce the potential for cross-contamination. Another option is to contact @AskTSA on Twitter or Facebook Messenger to get answers to your travel questions.
Step 2: Secure items in your carry-on
When removing items from pockets such as phones, keys or loose change, travelers should secure them in their carry-on bags instead of placing them in bins. Avoid placing personal items in bins since those are a common use item and should be treated as such.
Step 3: Traveling with hand sanitizer
TSA is allowing one liquid hand sanitizer container, up to 12 ounces per passenger, in carry-on bags. Passengers may also bring hand wipes of any size or quantity through security checkpoints.
Step 4: Enroll in TSA PreCheck®
People can “Travel with Ease” and experience a smoother screening process by enrolling in TSA PreCheck®. Eligible travelers do not need to remove shoes, belts, light outerwear, laptops, electronics larger than a cell phone or travel-size liquids from carry-on luggage. There is an enrollment center located in Staples at 6299 N. Eagle Road in Boise. It is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. In April 2021, 98% of travelers eligible for TSA PreCheck waited five minutes or less to be screened at airports nationwide. Another benefit of the program is that children 12 and under are permitted to use the TSA PreCheck lane when traveling with an eligible parent or guardian on the same itinerary.
Step 5: Parking at BOI
The Boise Airport’s Economy Parking Lot (shuttle lot) will be used for overflow parking when the close-in garage and surface parking is near capacity. Passengers can check to see if the Economy Lot is open by visiting the airport’s website or viewing the digital reader board as they enter airport loop from Vista Avenue. The shuttle runs on 15 minute intervals.