As summer 2022 approaches, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is preparing for substantial travel numbers. They believe passenger volumes may even exceed that of 2019 for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
The TSA’s Statement
TSA Administrator, David Pekoske, said: “Daily passenger volumes at TSA checkpoints show that people are traveling again, and TSA is ready for their return. Our airport security checkpoints include 47,500 highly-trained security professionals and new technologies that enhance security and reduce physical contact,”
“We continue to recruit, retain, train, and equip a highly-skilled workforce, and we work continuously with our airport and airline partners to anticipate and prepare for higher traffic patterns.”
On May 10, six airports and airline partners joined a media roundtable at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport to talk about their operational preparedness for the anticipated summer season. They discussed key changes implemented to ensure secure, healthy, and safe travel.
Recently, the TSA has enhanced security at airport screening checkpoints. They deployed two new technologies: Credential Authentication Technology (CAT) and Computed Tomography (CT) scanners to improve identification verification.
In some airports, they’ve added digital identification verification at the Travel Document Checker podium. Both of these additions boost security and reduce physical contact at airports.
The CT units provide TSA officers with a 3D image of a passenger’s bag. As a result, they won’t need to check passengers’ bags as much, meaning fewer waiting times for passengers this summer.
The TSA is currently installing the CT units at Billings Logan International Airport, Albany International Airport in New York, Buffalo Niagara International Airport in New York, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, and Raleigh-Durham International Airport in North Carolina.
Travel Tips From The TSA
The TSA has provided all U.S. travelers with some tips to get through the busy summer travel period. These include:
1. Face Masks Are Optional, But Recommended:
The TSA says the CDC still recommends face masks for passengers aged two or older in indoor areas of public transportation and transportation hubs.
The U.S. government recently dropped the mask mandate on public transport. Therefore, travelers don’t legally have to wear masks on public transport – but airlines and the TSA recommend doing so for safety reasons.
2. Pack Smart; Start With Empty Bags
Airline passengers who pack empty bags are less likely to bring illegal items through the TSA checkpoint, according to the TSA. They suggest checking the “What Can I Bring?” page on TSA.gov to see which items are prohibited.
3. Know Before You Go
According to the TSA, airports, like highways, have construction delays and high traffic surges. The TSA recommends that all travelers: “plan to arrive at the airport in plenty of time to check-in, check bags and complete security screening in time to avoid stressful sprints to the departure gate.”
The TSA also suggests all travelers have a valid ID card ready and follow the liquids rule of 3.4 ounces or less. However, they say that hand sanitizer has an exemption because it has a 12-ounce temporary limit in carry-on baggage.
4. Contact The TSA For Help
Finally, the TSA recommends all Americans contact the TSA if they have any questions about traveling this summer.
They say travelers can “get help by tweeting questions and comments to @AskTSA or via Facebook Messenger, on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. EDT and on weekends/holidays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. EDT.”
The TSA also adds: “You can also call the TSA Contact Center at 866-289-9673.”
Although 2022 is likely going to be a busy summer for travel, if you follow the tips in this article—you should have no issues with your summer vacation.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories