The TSA has provided a list of festive tips and tricks to ensure a smoother journey through the airport.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in the United States has issued advice for passengers traveling by plane this holiday as it prepares for a busy Christmas period.
Travel has been booming during the second half of 2023, including the run-up to the upcoming festive season and last month during Thanksgiving. The TSA states that it screened approximately 30 million passengers during the 12 days. It also says it broke the record for the most passenger throughput in a single day at 2.9 million people, recorded on November 26.
TSA Administrator, David Pekoske, said the following:
“We are prepared to handle the busy passenger volumes this winter holiday season. TSA’s continued success during this record year for travel is a direct result of teamwork, planning and professional execution across the agency, from our frontline employees to those behind the scenes; partnerships with airports and air carriers; and innovative checkpoint technologies that improve security effectiveness, efficiency and the passenger experience.”
The TSA’s Advice
The agency has also provided guidance for passengers to help with travel for the busy season. This includes:
- Begin packing with an empty bag – The TSA says this will help travelers ensure flammables or other prohibited items don’t accidentally get packed, ultimately reducing stress at this part of the journey and improving the overall experience.
- Arrive at the airport two hours before your flight – Given the increased passenger numbers for the holiday season, arriving at the airport early will ensure travelers get through security and other relevant checkpoints on time for the flight.
- Bring a valid form of identification and have it ready in the screening lane – It is also worth noting that the TSA recommends making your identification a REAL ID to conform with the new regulations. These state that REAL IDs will be needed as of May 7, 2025, for passengers over 18 years of age. This is based on the original REAL ID Act passed by Congress in 2005.
- Ensure gifts are unwrapped with the possibility of being inspected – This is particularly important given the festive season, and once again, allows for a smoother security check.
- Prepare, pack, and declare firearms – Travelers are allowed to bring firearms, but they must be in checked luggage, packed in a hard-sided, locked case, and unloaded. They also have to be declared. If you fail to follow this, you could face fines of up to $15,000.
- Note new checkpoint screening technology – Some airports have new scanners, known as “Computed Tomography” (CT) units, that provide Transportation Security Officers (TSO) with the possibility to obtain 3D images of passengers’ bags, so removing 3-1-1 liquids and laptops is not required. Every carry-on item needs to be placed into a bin for screening in the event of CT scanners.
Other advice includes exploring the TSA PreCheck program, available at over 200 airports at a cost of $75 for five years. In addition to that, the TSA asks passengers who require assistance to call ahead.
Recent PreCheck Expansion
In other news, the TSA also announced today that it would expand its PreCheck program to include Norse Atlantic Airways, Lynx Air, Starlux Airlines, and Fiji Airways. The agency says that, given the new additions to the program, there are a total of 94 domestic and international airlines participating.
TSA PreCheck is a form of fast-track security, allowing “low-risk travelers to enjoy a secure and efficient screening experience at more than 200 US airports.” It is worth noting that the program is only available to US citizens, US nationals, and US lawful permanent residents.
Source: Simple Flying