TSA prepared at COS for busy Fourth of July holiday and summer travel season; TSA Cares program and local TSA PreCheck enrollment

Local Press Release
Wednesday, June 28, 2023
CO fireplace photo

COLORADO SPRINGS - The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) anticipates a record number of people will be screened through security checkpoints at Colorado Springs Airport (COS) and at airports nationwide this summer, surpassing 2019 pre-pandemic volumes. With sustained high passenger volumes, officials with TSA are encouraging travelers to plan ahead and be prepared every step of the air travel experience.

During the month of June, TSA has screened an average of more than 2.4 million people per day at more than 430 airports nationwide. The Fourth of July holiday weekend begins Thursday, June 29 and will continue through Wednesday, July 5. An estimated 17.7 million people are expected to travel across the country during this seven-day period. The peak travel day of the holiday weekend is expected to be Friday, June 30 when TSA projects that 2.82 million people will be screened through security checkpoints. Full national checkpoint screening statistics are available at www.tsa.gov/travel/passenger-volumes

At COS, TSA is on track to screen more than 100,000 departing travelers during the month of June, making it the busiest June on record. For anyone departing COS between tomorrow and the Wednesday after the Fourth of July, it is guaranteed to be busy.

COS CT scanner photo

For the remainder of the summer, TSA is projecting an increase in the number of travelers who will need to be screened at the security checkpoint at COS. Planning ahead, arriving early and being prepared will be crucial to make security operations go smoothly.

Security checkpoint info
The busiest times at COS’s security checkpoint are 4:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Due to an increased number of flights that depart in the early morning and early afternoon, travelers can expect to encounter large numbers of travelers being screened during those times. The busiest days to travel are Thursdays and Fridays as well as Sundays and Mondays.

“The summer travel season is shaping up to be busy not only at COS, but at airports across the country. The Fourth of July holiday will bring even more travelers to the airport and security checkpoint and TSA will be ready,” said TSA acting Federal Security Director for Colorado Anne Cross. “We have solid staffing and operational plans in place and we look forward to delivering a smooth and efficient security screening experience for all travelers.”

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.

TSA offers a dedicated TSA PreCheck lane for travelers departing COS. The entrance is located on the right side of the security checkpoint.

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. Starting in late May 2023, teenagers ages 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 May. TSA PreCheck enrollment is offered in Colorado Springs at the IdentoGO office, 5051 N. Academy Boulevard in the Union Square shopping mall. The office is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. Begin the pre-enrollment process online at www.tsa.gov/precheck.

TSA Cares and Passenger Support Specialists
Through its TSA Cares program, TSA has trained Passenger Support Specialists (PSS), TSA officers who have received additional training to provide personalized assistance during the security screening process for travelers with disabilities or special circumstances. Anyone who could benefit from personalized assistance for any reason can contact TSA Cares toll free at 855-787-2227 or by e-mail at TSA-ContactCenter@tsa.dhs.gov.

TSA Cares will forward the traveler's contact information and itinerary to the TSA staff at the airport where the traveler is departing. There is no cost for this service, but it is recommended you contact TSA Cares 72 hours in advance of travel. 

For more information on TSA Cares and the PSS program, visit www.tsa.gov/travel/passenger-support.

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 recommends 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. TSA is reminding all travelers that fireworks don’t fly - in carry-on or checked luggage. Fireworks are never allowed on an aircraft, so please don’t bring them to the airport.

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).

Use your time wisely in the security checkpoint queue. Have your photo ID ready. Don’t wait until you approach the TSA officer who is checking IDs to look for it. Empty your pockets prior to arrival 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.

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. COS 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, convenient and time-saving passenger experience.

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. 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.

Eligible for TSA PreCheck? Enter your Known Traveler Number (KTN). Be sure that your airline reservation has your correct KTN and date of birth so you can “Travel with Ease.” Those who fly with multiple airlines should ensure their KTN is updated in each of their airline profiles every time you travel. TSA offers the TSA PreCheck experience at every airport nationwide, so this is a guaranteed way to save time and have a more convenient experience.