The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is gearing up for a busy summer of travel and wants flyers to be prepared as well. Summer air travel volumes are expected to surpass pre-pandemic levels, and lines at airport checkpoints will likely be long.
To help travelers pass through airport security quickly and smoothly, the TSA has offered these seven summer travel tips.
Double-Check Your PreCheck
Didn’t get the TSA PreCheck symbol on your boarding pass even though you’re a member? It’s likely that you didn’t add your Known Traveler Number to your reservation. Before checking in, make sure this information is correctly added to your profile so that you actually get PreCheck on your ticket.
Empty Out Your Bag Before Packing
Maybe the last time used your backpack was for a camping trip, and there’s a knife stashed in a pocket that you forgot about—the TSA checkpoint is not the time to discover that. Make sure your luggage is empty before you start packing it, so you don’t accidentally bring any prohibited items to the airport.
The TSA is especially concerned about people packing weapons, warning travelers, “If passengers bring a firearm to the security checkpoint, they will face significant penalties to include federal penalties and additional screening.”
Airports are going to be really busy this summer, so you may have to wait in longer lines than you’re used to. Factor this in when you’re planning how long it will take you to return a rental car, find parking, check your bags, and get through security.
To save time during screening, the TSA recommends taking items out of your pockets and putting them in your carry-on bag rather than in bins.
Be Ready for New Technology
You may see new technology at checkpoints in airports this summer, including new CT baggage scanners. “The opening to the X-ray tunnel on a CT unit is slightly smaller than on a traditional X-ray unit,” says the TSA. “TSA advises travelers not to force larger items into the tunnel, but to ask a TSA officer for assistance.”
Crowds and delayed flights might test your patience this summer but don’t take it out on airport employees, TSA agents, or flight attendants. The TSA reminds passengers that “Assaulting a TSA officer is a federal offense and will result in penalties and/or arrest.”
Check Your Identification
Although you still won’t need a REAL ID license until 2025, you should still double-check your passport or driver’s license well before you travel to make sure that it hasn’t expired. Don’t forget that many international destinations require your passport to be valid for at least six months after your trip.
Know How to Reach the TSA
Not sure what you can bring on a plane, or what security procedures will be like? Ask the TSA before you go. You can contact the TSA through a variety of methods:
- Social media: Message @AskTSA on Facebook or Twitter
- Text 272872 (AskTSA)
- Call the TSA Contact Center at (866) 289-9673
- Passengers requesting special assistance/accommodations can call TSA Cares at (855) 787-2227
Live assistance is available on social media from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. ET and phone lines are staffed weekdays from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET and from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET on weekends and holidays.
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