APPLETON, WI – Transportation Security Administration security checkpoints will look much different to passengers who have not flown since the start of the pandemic, and individuals flying out of Appleton International Airport (ATW) this summer should be prepared for those changes.
TSA is prepared to handle the increased travel volume this summer and the agency is committed to supporting a healthy and secure environment for airline passengers, TSA employees, and airport personnel. As the busy summer season approaches, TSA advises passengers to arrive at the airport with sufficient time to accommodate increased screening times as traveler volumes approach, and in some cases surpass, pre-pandemic levels at certain airports.
On Friday, June 11 and Sunday, June 13, TSA screened more than 2 million travelers, a pandemic record. It marked the first time that more than 2 million individuals were screened since March 2020. This milestone represents 74% of travel volume versus the same day in 2019 and 1.5 million more travelers than the same day in 2020.
Prior to the pandemic, TSA screened on average 2 to 2.5 million travelers per day. The lowest screening volume was on April 13, 2020, when 87,534 individuals were screened at airport security checkpoints.
A mask mandate remains in place through September 13 for all passengers traveling on planes, buses, trains and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States, and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. For more information about COVID-19 guidance, please visit the CDC website.
“Travelers will notice the checkpoint screening process looks different today than it did before the pandemic,” said Mark Lendvay, TSA’s Federal Security Director for Wisconsin. “Travelers will see and hear reminders to socially distance themselves from other travelers while in the checkpoint lines. Travelers will see our TSA officers wearing masks and gloves throughout the screening process. New acrylic barriers have been installed as well in the agency’s ongoing efforts to help contain the spread of COVID-19.”
When travelers approach the travel document checking podium, they will be asked to scan their own boarding pass—electronic or paper—to reduce a touchpoint. They will also be asked to lower their masks for matching the traveler’s face to the photo on their ID.
TSA officers will be changing their gloves between each pat-down and between each bag search. Travelers may request that a TSA officer put on a new pair of gloves at any time. TSA officers also will be using a fresh swab for each passenger when testing for possible explosive material.
TSA employees will be conducting routine cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces and security screening equipment at the checkpoints. The airport is also performing additional cleaning of security checkpoints.
To reduce touchpoints, TSA recommends travelers place pocket items such as wallets, keys, lip balm, tissues and cell phones into their carry-on bags instead of putting items from their pockets directly into bins. This minimizes the placing of personal items in a bin that you might hold to your face such as lip balm, tissues and cell phones. It also reduces the chance that travelers will leave something behind in a bin.
Summer travelers can review TSA’s national press release on summer travel for simple tips to get through security checkpoints quickly and efficiently.
Prepare when packing: Check TSA’s “What Can I Bring” feature at tsa.gov. Type in an item to find out if you can bring it in your carry-on bag, checked bag, or not at all.
Arrive prepared: Allow time for traffic changes, parking, rental car returns, airline check-in, security screening and transiting to your gate.
Follow the 3-1-1 liquids rule for your carry-on bag. All liquids, gels, aerosols, creams and pastes shall be in containers of 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less and fit inside a single quart-sized, clear, zip-top bag. Only 1 bag per traveler is allowed. Let the TSA officer know if you’re traveling with larger quantities of medically necessary liquids.
Passenger Support: TSA Cares is a helpline that provides travelers with disabilities, medical conditions and other special circumstances, additional assistance at the security checkpoint.
TSA seeks to ensure a healthy and secure environment for 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/coronavirus.