TSA offers advice to air travelers departing Denver International Airport this summer

Local Press Release
Wednesday, June 8, 2022

DENVER - The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) anticipates a record number of people will be screened through the security checkpoints at Denver International Airport (DEN) this summer, likely equaling or surpassing 2019 volumes.

During the past two weeks, TSA has screened an average of 2.1 million people per day nationwide. From Jan. 1 to May 31, 2022, TSA has screened more than 9.2 million people departing DEN. This ranks 10th nationwide among airports for the number of departing passengers screened since the start of the year.

In order to ensure the most efficient security screening operation and the best passenger experience at DEN, TSA has added national staff to work alongside local Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) during the summer months. TSA continues to staff the security checkpoints based on the number of travelers projected to depart the airport at various times during the day.

“We diligently monitor our operations and make needed adjustments throughout the day. Whether it is reallocating our staff to areas within the airport or extending the shifts of our employees, we remain committed to delivering the highest level of security to the traveling public,” said TSA Federal Security Director Larry Nau. “Every traveler can help us carry out our responsibilities by arriving early and prepared for the security screening experience.”

The busiest times at the checkpoints are 4 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Due to an increased number of flights that depart after 8 p.m., travelers can expect to encounter large numbers of travelers being screened during the evening hours. The busiest days to travel are Thursdays and Fridays as well as Sundays and Mondays.

Due to high departing travel volumes at DEN, there will be periods during the day when the number of passengers who need to be screened exceeds the capacity of the checkpoint. At these times, travelers may see TSA administrative and other non-certified staff assisting with non-security functions. That allows security-certified officers to screen and process passengers efficiently and as quickly as possible.

TSA strives to get travelers through the general security screening process in less than 30 minutes and through TSA PreCheck screening in less than 10 minutes. Recent data shows that 80% of travelers departing DEN waited 15 minutes or less to be screened.

TSA continues to work collaboratively with the airport and airlines to evaluate and determine the type of screening offered at each security checkpoint. Currently, this is the type of screening that is available at each security checkpoint:

North Security Checkpoint - multiple screening options for travelers including:

  • Multiple dedicated TSA PreCheck® (only) lanes
  • Airline premium access lanes
  • CLEAR lanes for TSA PreCheck-eligible travelers

South Security Checkpoint

  • All lanes general screening only
  • CLEAR lanes for general screening travelers

A Bridge Security Checkpoint (open limited hours – generally in the morning through early afternoon)

  • All lanes general screening only

There will be days when additional screening options may be made available at some checkpoints including a limited number of TSA PreCheck screening lanes at the South Checkpoint. However, this availability will be based on staffing and the number of travelers projected to depart DEN on any given day. TSA will consistently offer TSA PreCheck screening at the North Security Checkpoint.

Travel advice
TSA continues to ask travelers to arrive early and prepared for the screening experience to allow for timely completion of every step of the travel process. To help things go smoothly, please follow these tips:

Listen for guidance from TSA officers. Some people may not have traveled recently, so it is important to listen to the direction provided in the security checkpoint. There may be information on new technologies that help reduce touchpoints and make for a more streamlined and convenient passenger experience, so listen up!

Empty your pockets prior to arriving in the checkpoint. Place wallets, phones, keys, sunglasses and other loose items from your pockets inside your carry-on bag instead of placing them in a bin. This will ensure personal items are not left behind.

Follow the rule for traveling with liquids. Gels, liquids and aerosols are limited to 3.4 ounces (100 ml) or less in carry-on luggage. The general definition for this rule is that if you can spill it, spray it, pump it or pour it, then it is subject to the liquids restriction rule. Anything in quantities larger than 3.4 ounces should travel in checked baggage.

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. Another option is to contact @AskTSA on Twitter or Facebook Messenger to get answers to your travel questions.

Enroll in TSA PreCheck®. 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 at DEN, pre-security on Level 5 of the main terminal.  It is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. In May 2022, 93% 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.

Give yourself plenty of time at the airport. Extra time may be needed for parking, at airline check-in counters and in the security checkpoint. There is no substitute for arriving early and prepared.

TSA hiring TSOs at DEN
Finally, TSA has immediate openings for TSOs to work at DEN. The starting hourly rate is $24.23. As an incentive to join the agency, TSA will pay newly-hired TSOs at DEN $2,500 upon starting with the agency and $2,500 after one year of service with the TSA.

Benefits for TSOs include paid training, annual and sick leave, health care plans for full- and part-time employees and a generous 401k retirement plan. TSOs are also eligible for up to $5,000 per year in college tuition reimbursement. TSA does not prorate benefits for part-time workers, and veteran’s preference is not required to join the agency.

After six months, TSOs are eligible for pay increases and those who work early mornings, evenings and Sundays receive a shift differential. Overtime opportunities, which are paid at time and a half, are frequently available.

To begin the application process, visit https://jobs.tsa.gov.  In the “Search TSA jobs” box, enter “TSO” in the search box to the left and “Denver” in the “location” search box to the right.