TSA breaks record for most individuals screened on a single day, readies for record-breaking Independence Day weekend travel volumes

National Press Release
Monday, June 24, 2024

WASHINGTON — As airline passengers prepare to take to the skies this Independence Day holiday, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is prepared for a sustained period of high passenger volumes. TSA expects to screen more than 32 million individuals from Thursday, June 27 through Monday, July 8, which is a 5.4% increase over 2023 Independence Day holiday travel volumes. On Sunday, June 23, TSA broke the record for most people screened on a single day, screening nearly 3 million (2.99 million) individuals. This summer’s record-breaking travel volumes reflect the role TSA and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have in securing the nation’s transportation systems, while ensuring freedom of movement for people and commerce, which is vital to our country’s economic well-being.

TSA anticipates the peak travel day will be Friday, June 28, when the agency expects to screen more than 3 million individuals. TSA is staffed to meet its wait time standards, which are 10 minutes and under in TSA PreCheck lanes and 30 minutes and under in standard screening lanes. Seven of the top 10 busiest travel days ever have occurred over the past month.

“We expect this summer to be our busiest ever and summer travel usually peaks over the Independence Day holiday,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “Compared to last year, we have cut our attrition rates by almost half and increased our recruiting as a result of the TSA Compensation Plan that was funded in the budget passed by Congress and signed into law by President Biden. The traveling public is on the move, which is a sign of a healthy economy. We are ready, along with our airline and airport partners, to handle this boost in passenger volumes.”

Airline passengers should be aware that security screening technologies may vary by airport. Although TSA follows strict standardized screening protocols, it is important for passengers to arrive early and listen to the guidance provided by Transportation Security Officers (TSOs).

Below are some frequently asked questions that provide an overview of the TSA technologies and procedures individuals may encounter during screening process.

Do I need to show a boarding pass to the TSA officer?

All airline passengers must have their acceptable ID and boarding pass ready at the security checkpoint entrance.

Do I need to take off my shoes?

TSA requires individuals in standard screening lanes to remove their shoes during the screening process. However, individuals 12 and under or 75 and older are always permitted to keep their shoes on during the security screening process.

Passengers with TSA PreCheck may leave their shoes on unless they alarm during screening. Most airports have dedicated TSA PreCheck lanes during some peak hours. Some airports have blended lanes where passengers with TSA PreCheck are screened in standard lanes, but they will receive a card indicating they have TSA PreCheck to carry with them during screening, and will be screened as a TSA PreCheck passenger.

Can family members go through the TSA PreCheck lane with me?

Teenagers aged 13-17 may accompany TSA PreCheck enrolled parents or guardians through screening when traveling on the same reservation and when the TSA PreCheck indicator appears on the teen’s boarding pass. Children 12 and under may accompany an enrolled parent or guardian in the TSA PreCheck lanes without restriction.This benefit is another reason to join the nearly 20 million people who have enrolled in TSA PreCheck. For customer flexibility, there are three TSA PreCheck enrollment providers from which passengers may choose: Telos, CLEAR and IDEMIA. For more information on any of the enrollment provider options and TSA PreCheck, visit www.tsa.gov/precheck.

Other advice from TSA

With more than 430 federalized, commercial airports nationwide, 685 security checkpoints and 2,412 security screening lanes, it may be challenging to know what to expect at any airport. Here are some additional tips to help ensure an efficient screening experience:

  1. Pack smart. Always start packing with a bag that is empty to ensure there are no prohibited items present during security screening. Place electronics larger than a cell phone and travel size liquids at the top of your carry-on so they can be easily accessible if they must be removed. Remember that all liquids must be 3.4 ounces (100 ml) or less if they are in your carry-on bag.
  2. Arrive at the airport two hours before scheduled boarding time. Allow ample time to park, navigate to the terminal, check luggage with the airline if needed and proceed through the checkpoint. Most flights board 30-45 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time.
  3. Review guidelines for traveling with children. Airlines may request proof of age documentation during check-in for children 12 and under traveling unaccompanied. Proof of age documentation must also be provided for children two and under planning to sit on an adult passenger’s lap. A birth certificate is an acceptable proof of age.
  4. Get assistance prior to traveling. Do you have a question about an item and whether or not it is allowed through security screening? Download the MyTSA app and use the “What Can I Bring?” feature to determine whether an item is allowed or prohibited in carry-on luggage. You may also snap a picture of an item and send it to @AskTSA on X (formerly Twitter) or Facebook Messenger for real-time assistance. Passengers may text their question to TSA by texting “Travel” to AskTSA (275-872). Passengers who need additional assistance through security screening may request a TSA Passenger Support Specialist (PSS). A PSS is a TSO who has received specialized training, including how to effectively assist and communicate with individuals with disabilities, medical conditions or those who need additional screening assistance. Individuals should request passenger assistance at least 72 hours in advance by contacting our TSA Cares passenger support line at (855) 787-2227. Live assistance for both the TCC and TSA Cares is available weekdays, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET, or weekends and holidays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET.
  5. Double-check your luggage tags. Many bags look alike, so passengers should tag every piece of checked luggage with their name and address. We also recommended they include additional addresses inside each bag in the event the outside tag falls off. When retrieving checked luggage at baggage claim, it is important that individuals check the tags to ensure they have picked up the correct bag.
  6. Do you carry a firearm? Prepare, pack and declare. Passengers may travel with a firearm, but it must be secured as the passenger’s checked baggage; packed unloaded; locked in a hard-sided case and declared to the airline when checking in at the airline ticket counter. Firearms are prohibited at security checkpoints, in the secure area of an airport and in the passenger cabin of an aircraft, even if a passenger has a concealed carry permit or is in a constitutional carry jurisdiction. TSA does not confiscate or seize firearms. If a passenger brings a firearm to the security checkpoint on their person or in their carry-on luggage, the TSO will contact local law enforcement to safely unload and take possession of the firearm. Law enforcement may also arrest or cite the passenger, depending on local law. TSA may impose a civil penalty up to almost $15,000, and for the first offense, passengers who bring a firearm to a security checkpoint will lose TSA PreCheck® eligibility for five years. Second violations will result in permanent disqualification from the program and additional civil penalties.
  7. Do you have TSA PreCheck? Make sure your Known Traveler Number (KTN) is in your airline reservation. TSA PreCheck passengers do not need to remove shoes, belts, 3-1-1 liquids, laptops, food items and light jackets at the TSA checkpoint. TSA’s wait time standards for TSA PreCheck lanes are under 10 minutes whereas as standard lanes are under 30 minutes. If you are not yet enrolled in TSA PreCheck, you may enroll via one of TSA’s authorized enrollment providers starting as low as $77.95 for a five-year membership. Most new enrollees receive their KTN within three to five days. Members may renew membership online up to six months prior to expiration for another five-year term starting as low as $68.95. Visit TSA PreCheck at www.tsa.gov/precheck for more information, and to begin your enrollment.
  8. Respect frontline aviation workers. Violence and unruly behavior in airports and onboard aircraft are not acceptable and will result in significant delays at security checkpoints. TSOs, along with all frontline airport and airline employees and local law enforcement, are working together to ensure safe and secure travel. Assaulting a TSA employee is a federal offense and will result in penalties and/or arrest.