SAN DIEGO – Officials with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and San Diego International Airport (SAN) are prepared for what is projected to be one of the busiest weeks of the 2018 summer travel season.
San Diego is once again host to the 2018 Comic-Con International, the country’s largest comics and pop culture gathering, which is attended by more than 100,000 people. The convention begins today and runs through Sunday, July 22.
TSA and the airport are prepared for an extremely busy few days starting Sunday as convention goers fly home after the event. TSA at SAN projects it will screen more than 46,000 people per day on both Sunday and Monday. That is more than a 30 percent increase over a typical day when TSA at SAN screens about 35,000 people a day.
This surge comes during the busiest summer on record at SAN. The number of departing passengers and crew screened by TSA has dramatically increased over the past few years. Since 2015, TSA has experienced 22 percent growth in the number of people screened through the security checkpoint and in the past year, SAN has been one of the top 10 large airports for growth in passenger volume in the country.
Factors that have contributed to the growth at SAN include the addition of new international carriers with destinations in Europe and Mexico and multiple new domestic U.S. non-stop destinations. Overall, TSA at SAN is on track to screen more than 3.6 million people through the security checkpoints between Memorial Day and Labor Day 2018.
To help passengers plan their summer travel, TSA advises that the busiest days of the week are Thursdays and Fridays followed by Sundays and Mondays. The busiest times at the security checkpoints are 4 a.m. through 6 a.m.; 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and again 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily. TSA recommends that travelers arrive two hours prior to their flight departure due to anticipated heavy volume.
Nationwide, TSA expects to see a four percent increase in the number of passengers screened through its security checkpoints this summer. In order to handle the increased passenger volume on peak travel days, TSA locally and nationwide will be fully staffed, offering additional hours and overtime to TSA officers.
Passengers play an important role in the security process. By being prepared, they can simplify their travel experience and have a significant impact on security checkpoint operations. Here are some helpful TSA tools and travel tips for 2018 Comic-Con attendees and other travelers:
- Comic books are allowed in both checked and carry-on baggage. There is no prohibition against checking comic books in your luggage. There is also no restriction on traveling with them in your carry-on luggage.
- Unpack your bag before you pack it. By fully unpacking your carry-on bag, you will avoid bringing items to the airport that are not allowed past the security checkpoint. Common prohibited items passengers bring include anything with a blade and liquids and gels over 3.4 ounces (100 ml). Know what you can pack in your carry-on or checked baggage before arriving at the airport by using TSA’s “What Can I Bring” feature on its website.
- Don’t overstuff your bag. Cluttered bags can take more time to screen since TSA officers need to get a clear view of the contents of the bag during the X-ray process. One tip to reduce clutter in your carry-on is to neatly wrap charging cords and cables.
- Remove electronics larger than a cell phone from carry-on bag. New carry-on baggage screening procedures are in place in general screening lanes at all airports across the country. The procedures require travelers to place all electronic devices larger than a cell phone – including tablets, e-readers and cameras – in bins for X-ray screening when going through the security checkpoint. The electronics should be placed in a bin with nothing on top or below, similar to how laptops have been screened for several years.
- Remove 3-1-1 bag from carry-on. Travelers should remove their one-quart bag containing liquids, gels and aerosols in quantities of less than 3.4 ounces (100 ml) from their carry-on bag. Place the bag in a bin by itself for X-ray screening. Removing electronics and liquids from the carry-on allows TSA officers to obtain a clearer view of them on the X-ray screen.
- Tweet or Message “AskTSA.” Unsure if an item is allowed through security in a carry-on bag? Snap a picture, send a question and get real-time assistance by tweeting your questions and comments to @AskTSA or via Facebook Messenger. Available every day from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. PT.
In anticipation of a surge in the number of departing passengers from SAN this weekend, TSA has published a blog titled, “Comic-Con International 2018 Travel Tips,” which contains additional information.