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The Transportation Security Administration is preparing for a high volume of passengers during the Independence Day holiday

The Transportation Security Administration is preparing for a high volume of passengers during the Independence Day holiday

The Transportation Security Administration is preparing for a high volume of passengers during the Independence Day holiday

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Reading time: 4 minutes

As airline passengers prepare for the Independence Day holiday, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is bracing for a period of high passenger volumes. TSA anticipates screening more than 32 million people from Thursday, June 27 through Monday, July 8, marking a 5.4 percent increase over 2023 holiday travel volumes. On Sunday, June 23, TSA set a record by screening nearly 3 million (2.99 million) people in a single day. This summer’s record travel volume underscores the critical role of TSA and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in securing the nation’s transportation systems while ensuring the freedom of movement of people and commerce that is vital to the nation’s economic well-being our.

TSA expects the peak day to be Friday, June 28, with more than 3 million people expected to go through screening. TSA is staffed to meet its wait time standards of 10 minutes or less at TSA PreCheck lanes and 30 minutes or less at standard screening lanes. Notably, seven of the top 10 busiest travel days ever occurred in the past month.

“We expect this summer to be our busiest on record, and summer travel typically peaks around the Independence Day holiday,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “Compared to last year, we have cut our attrition rates by nearly half and increased recruitment as a result of the TSA Compensation Plan, which was funded in the budget approved by Congress and signed by President Biden. The traveling public is on the move, which is a sign of a healthy economy. We are ready, together with our airline and airport partners, to handle this increase in passenger volume.”

Important information for airline passengers: understanding security screening variations

As you prepare for your flight, keep in mind that security screening technologies may vary between airports. While the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) maintains strict standardized screening protocols, it is essential to arrive early and follow the directions of the Transportation Security Officers (TSO).

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions to help you navigate TSA technologies and procedures during the screening process.

frequent questions

Do I have to show my boarding pass to the TSA officer?
Yes, all passengers must have acceptable identification and a boarding pass ready upon entering the security checkpoint.

Do I have to take off my shoes?
Passengers in the standard screening lanes must remove their shoes. However, people 12 and under or 75 and over can keep their shoes on during the screening process. Also, TSA PreCheck passengers can keep their shoes unless they trigger an alarm. Many airports offer dedicated TSA PreCheck lanes during peak times. Some airports use mixed lanes, where TSA PreCheck passengers receive a card indicating their status and are screened accordingly.

Can my family members accompany me to the TSA PreCheck lane?
Teens between the ages of 13 and 17 may accompany parents or guardians enrolled in TSA PreCheck through screening if they are in the same reservation and the TSA PreCheck indicator appears on the teen’s boarding pass. Children up to 12 years of age may accompany a registered parent or guardian without restriction. This benefit is one of the reasons nearly 20 million people have signed up for TSA PreCheck. For more information about TSA PreCheck and enrollment options with providers such as Telos, CLEAR and IDEMIA.

Additional TSA Tips

Smart package

  • Start with an empty bag to ensure there are no prohibited items.
  • Place electronics larger than a cell phone and travel-sized liquids at the top of your carry-on for easy access.

I arrive early

  • Arrive at the airport two hours before your scheduled boarding time to allow time for parking, navigating to the terminal, checking your bags and going through the checkpoint. Most flights board 30-45 minutes before departure.

Traveling with children

  • Airlines may request proof of age for children up to 12 years old traveling unaccompanied and for children up to two years old sitting on an adult passenger’s lap. A birth certificate serves as an acceptable form of proof.

Get help before you travel

  • If you have questions about allowed items, use the MyTSA “What Can I Bring?” or contact @AskTSA on X (formerly Twitter) or Facebook Messenger for real-time assistance. For additional support, including assistance for people with disabilities, medical conditions.

Double check your luggage tags

  • Make sure all checked bags have tags with your name and address. Include additional address information in each bag in case the external tag falls off. Check the tags when you retrieve your bags at baggage claim to ensure you are picking up the correct bag.

Traveling with a firearm

  • Passengers may travel with a firearm if it is unloaded, locked in a hard case and declared to the airline at check-in. Firearms are not permitted at security checkpoints, in secure areas of the airport or in the aircraft cabin. TSA will contact local law enforcement if a firearm is brought to a checkpoint and civil penalties may apply.

TSA Pre-Check

  • Make sure your Known Traveler Number (KTN) is on your airline reservation. TSA PreCheck passengers enjoy fast screening without the need to remove shoes, belts, 3-1-1 fluids, laptops, food and light jackets. TSA PreCheck enrollment costs up to $77.95 for a five-year membership, with most new enrollees receiving their KTN within three to five days. Renewals can be done online for $68.95. For more information and to start registration.

Respect frontline aviation workers

  • Violence and unruly behavior in airports and on aircraft are not tolerated and can lead to significant delays and penalties. Assaulting a TSA employee is a federal crime and will result in arrest and penalties.

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