WASHINGTON – The Transportation Security Administration is prepared for the start of the Spring Break travel period, which typically begins in late February and continues into April. TSA will screen approximately 62 million travelers at airports nationwide in March alone.
Through the Airport Operations Center, TSA tracks daily screening operations at every major airport to rapidly address any problems that arise by deploying personnel, canine teams and technology as needed. Working closely with airport and airline stakeholders, TSA will maintain secure and efficient operations at checkpoints nationwide during the busy travel season.
“As we approach the Spring Break travel period, security remains our top priority, and we are taking every measure, both seen and unseen, to protect the millions of air travelers,” said TSA Acting Administrator Huban A. Gowadia. “TSA continues to work closely in partnership with industry stakeholders to improve the traveling experience, while keeping every traveler safe.”
Additionally, TSA continues to collaborate with vendors, airlines and airports to open more automated screening lanes in the coming months. These lanes are designed to improve the screening process by automating many of the functions, allowing passengers to move more swiftly through the checkpoint. Automated screening lanes are already available at Newark Liberty International Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport and Los Angeles International.
With the increased volume during Spring Break travel, delays at the airport may occur. Travelers can simplify their travel experience through the airport by arriving prepared. Preparedness can have a significant impact on efficiency at security checkpoints nationwide.
Here are some helpful tools and travel tips to ensure a smooth checkpoint experience:
- Arrive early. Consider adding time in your travel plans for traffic, parking, rental car returns and airline check-in. Arrive up to two hours in advance of your flight departure time for domestic travel and three hours for international flights.
- Apply for a trusted traveler program, such as TSA Pre✓®, Global Entry, NEXUS, or SENTRI. These programs help improve security and provide an easier, more convenient travel experience, by affording travelers access to TSA Pre✓® lanes. For travelers using the TSA Pre✓® lane, there is no need to remove shoes, laptops, liquids, belts and light jackets at more than 180 U.S. airports when traveling on 30 participating airlines.
- Tweet or Message AskTSA. Issues receiving TSA Pre✓® on your boarding pass? Unsure if an item is allowed through security? Get live assistance by tweeting your questions and comments to @AskTSA or via Facebook Messenger, weekdays, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and weekends/holidays, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. You can also reach the Contact Center at 866-289-9673.
- Know the TSA Pre✓® lane hours. For TSA Pre✓® members, a new web feature lists the operating hours for the TSA Pre✓® lanes at 26 largest airports. Travelers can enter their airport, day of week and time of day of travel, and the tool will return the availability of a dedicated TSA Pre✓® lane(s).
- Prepare for security. Have a valid ID and boarding pass readily available, and remove large electronics, including laptops and liquids bag from carry-on baggage. Avoid over packing your carry-on bag. Consider checking bags when feasible.
- Follow the liquids rule. Liquids, gels, aerosols, creams and pastes must be 3.4 ounces or less and all containers must fit inside a single quart-size plastic bag and be placed in a bin for carry-on baggage screening. This includes sun block and tanning lotions.
- Call TSA Cares. Travelers or families of passengers with disabilities and/or medical conditions may call the TSA Cares helpline toll free at 855-787-2227 at least 72 hours prior to flying with any questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint as well as arrange for assistance at the checkpoint.
As a reminder, public awareness is key for supporting TSA’s security efforts. Travelers are encouraged to report suspicious activities, and remember If You See Something, Say Something™. For individuals traveling abroad, please check the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Know Before You Go page to learn about required documentation.