Officials stress importance of TSA mission as Sept. 11 anniversary approaches
WASHINGTON – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) marked another record-breaking summer travel season, screening more than a quarter of a billion travelers, the busiest in TSA history. With the summer travel season spanning from the Wednesday before Memorial Day until the Tuesday after Labor Day, TSA officers screened 262 million passengers and crew, nearly 3.4% more this year than last year during the same period. TSA also screened nearly 164 million pieces of checked baggage.
In addition, TSA experienced nine of the top 10 busiest days in its history during the summer season. To support this passenger surge, TSA actively worked with airline and airport partners to improve and expand screening capabilities earlier this year. The agency also increased TSA security checkpoint staff by more than 2,000 officers to meet operational demands.
“The anniversary of the September 11 attacks is a regular reminder of the importance of TSA’s mission to protect the traveling public,” said TSA Acting Deputy Administrator Patricia Cogswell. “Despite the requirements of screening these record numbers of travelers and their belongings, our people remain dedicated to safety and security above all else.”
Even with the surge of travelers this season, 99.7% of passengers waited less than 30 minutes in standard lanes, and 98.9% of TSA Pre✓® lane passengers waited less than 10 minutes.
As TSA transitions into the upcoming holiday travel period, passengers are reminded to plan ahead and pack properly to help keep wait times to a minimum as traveler numbers continue to increase:
- Apply for the TSA Pre✓® expedited screening program. U.S. travelers who are U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals and lawful permanent residents can apply for TSA Pre✓® for a cost of $85 for five years. For TSA Pre✓® travelers, there is no need to remove shoes, laptops, 3-1-1 liquids, belts or light jackets. If you fly internationally, consider Global Entry. Use the Trusted Traveler tool to find the best program for you.
- Always check personal belongings for prohibited items such as knives and guns before going to the airport.
- Check with the airlines and airports to determine wait times during peak periods. The MyTSA App is also a great resource to help figure out when you should get to the airport. You may now check how busy the airport is likely to be on your specific day and time of travel based on historical data.
- Pack your carry-on bag so that it can be easily screened. Examples of personal electronic items that should be placed in a bin to be scanned separately include laptops, tablets, e-readers, and cameras. Additionally, TSA officers may provide instructions to remove items from your bag such as foods, powders, and any materials that obstruct clear images on the X-ray machine or require additional screening.
Travelers are also reminded to prepare for REAL ID enforcement. Beginning October 1, 2020, each traveler must present a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, state-issued enhanced driver’s license, or another acceptable form of identification, to fly within the United States. Last month, TSA began verbally advising travelers who present non-compliant licenses of the upcoming REAL ID requirement and enforcement date.
For more information, visit tsa.gov, and follow @TSA on Twitter and Facebook. Not sure what is allowed on the plane? Send your questions to @AskTSA on Twitter and Facebook Messenger.