BOISE, Idaho - The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) anticipates a record number of people will be screened through security checkpoints at Boise Airport (BOI) and at airports nationwide during Memorial Day weekend and throughout the summer, surpassing 2019 pre-pandemic volumes. With high passenger volumes, officials with TSA and BOI are encouraging travelers to plan ahead and be prepared for the air travel experience.
TSA is committed to staffing the security checkpoint at BOI based on the number of travelers projected to depart the airport at various times during the day. The summer travel season will officially get underway with Memorial Day weekend when the busiest day at BOI is projected to be Friday, May 26 when more than 7,500 travelers will be screened through the security checkpoint.
The busiest times at the BOI checkpoint are generally 4 a.m. to 7 a.m.; 10 a.m. to noon; and 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. The busiest days to travel locally and nationally are Thursdays and Fridays as well as Sundays and Mondays. 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.
Nationally, TSA is anticipating a significant increase in air travel volumes this summer. Since the spring break travel period, TSA has screened a minimum of more than 2 million travelers per day nationwide, which is 100 percent of pre-pandemic levels. We anticipate that daily passenger screening volumes will continue to increase to an average 2.5 million people per day at more than 425 commercial airports nationwide.
Due consistent high passenger volumes at BOI, there will be periods during the day - especially in the early morning - when the number of passengers who need to be screened by TSA may exceed the capacity of the security checkpoint. Because of these peaks, TSA is advising all travelers to plan ahead and arrive early to complete every step of the airport travel process.
“TSA began working on its summer travel staffing plan months ago to ensure that we would be prepared for pre-pandemic travel volumes. This included coordinating with the airport for an expansion of the security checkpoint. Our planning is paying off now that we are nearing Memorial Day,” said TSA Federal Security Director for Idaho Andy Coose. “We look forward to welcoming residents and visitors alike who will come to the security checkpoint at BOI over the coming weeks. We are committed to providing a first-class customer service experience and excellent security screening for all.”
Changes to TSA PreCheck screening
TSA PreCheck expedites a traveler’s airport security checkpoint screening process and allows travelers to leave on their shoes, light outerwear and belt, keep their laptop in its case and their travel size liquids, gels and aerosols in a carry-on. More than 15 million people nationwide have enrolled in TSA PreCheck and regularly enjoy the expedited screening process when they travel.
Previously, children 12 and under have been permitted to use the TSA PreCheck lane when traveling with an eligible parent or guardian on the same itinerary. Effective immediately, teenagers aged 13-17 can now accompany TSA PreCheck enrolled parents or guardians through TSA PreCheck screening when traveling on the same reservation and when the TSA PreCheck indicator appears on the teen’s boarding pass.
On average, 89% of TSA PreCheck-eligible travelers waited five minutes or less to be screened through the security checkpoint during the month of April. TSA PreCheck enrollment is offered at two locations in the Treasure Valley including in Boise at Staples, 6299 N. Eagle Road and in Garden City at 5153 N. Glenwood Street. Begin the pre-enrollment process online at www.tsa.gov/precheck.
Summer travel tips
Travelers have the ability to impact the efficiency of the airport travel experience. Because there is no substitute for being prepared, TSA and airport officials recommend the following:
Pack smart. Travelers should be aware of the contents of their carry-on bags prior to leaving home. Ensure that carry-ons do not contain prohibited items since they slow down the security screening process. To determine whether an item is allowed or prohibited in carry-on luggage, download the MyTSA app and use the “What Can I Bring?” feature. Another option is to snap a picture of an item and send it to @AskTSA on Twitter or Facebook Messenger for real-time assistance. Travelers can also send a question by texting “Travel” to AskTSA (275-872).
Follow the rule for traveling with liquids. Sunscreen, creams, bug spray and other 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. If a traveler brings liquids in quantities larger than 3.4 ounces, TSA will have to conduct a bag check, which slows the screening process for that traveler and everyone in line behind them. Any liquids in quantities larger than 3.4 ounces should travel in checked baggage.
Listen for guidance from TSA officers. Whether you travel regularly or infrequently, it is important to listen to the direction provided in the security checkpoint. BOI has security screening technologies in use that may allow travelers not to present a boarding pass during the travel document checking process or leave all items in their carry-on luggage as it is screened. Listen up for directions that will make for a more streamlined and convenient passenger experience.
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.
Common prohibited item brought to the checkpoint at BOI. TSA at BOI screens a high number of travelers who are outdoor enthusiasts, many of whom bring walking sticks, bear spray and other recreational items to the security checkpoint. Please note that walking sticks must travel in checked luggage since they are prohibited in the cabin of the aircraft. Bear spray is prohibited in both carry-on and checked luggage.