Oak Hill, WV (WOAY) – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) expects airport security checkpoints nationwide to be busier this holiday travel season than last year.
TSA anticipates travel volumes to be close to pre-pandemic levels and forecasts the busiest days to be Thursday, December 22, and Friday, December 30.
Travelers should keep these top 10 tips in mind while traveling:
- Do not attempt to bring a firearm through a TSA checkpoint; doing so compromises the safety and security of other passengers and our officers at the checkpoint. Passengers who do attempt to bring a firearm through a checkpoint can expect to receive a civil penalty (fines may be as high as $15,000) and lose eligibility for TSA PreCheck. Additionally, local law enforcement will be called, and because these passengers may present additional risk beyond the firearm, they will receive enhanced screening.
- Beyond firearms, other items are not permitted at the checkpoint. These include explosives, flammables, knives, razors, and replica weapons. To see if an item is prohibited, check the TSA website under “What Can I Bring?” Prepare for security when packing for your trip, and be aware of what can go in carry-on or checked bags to ensure there are no prohibited items. If you can spill, spray, spread, pump, or pour it, then it is subject to the 3.4-ounce limitation. Passengers may always bring solid foods such as cakes and baked goods through the TSA checkpoint.
- Ensure gifts are unwrapped and can be inspected. TSA encourages those traveling with gifts this holiday season to use gift bags that can be easily opened or gift boxes with lids that can be removed, so that contents can be inspected if required. Fully wrapped gifts may need to be opened if deemed necessary by a TSA officer. Instead, consider placing your unwrapped gifts in your checked bag.
- Bring an acceptable ID. Before heading to the airport, travelers should ensure they have proper identification. At many airport checkpoints, the Transportation Security Officer (TSO) may ask you to insert your physical ID into one of our new Credential Authentication Technology units. Residents of Arizona, Colorado, and Maryland may even use their Apple mobile device to store their ID in Apple Wallet and use their mobile device in specific TSA PreCheck lanes at participating airports.
- Become a Trusted Traveler. The TSA PreCheck program offers expedited security screening at the airport, connecting low-risk passengers with a more efficient air travel experience. Just in time for the holidays, the enrollment fee dropped from $85 to $78 for a five-year membership. Online renewals cost just $70. TSA PreCheck members keep their shoes, belts, and light jackets on and their laptops and liquids in their carry-on bags. Program member benefits include less physical contact, fewer items on the conveyor belt, and faster screening. In addition, many new enrollees receive a known traveler number within three to five days.
- Request passenger support. Travelers or families of passengers with disabilities and medical conditions may call the TSA Cares helpline toll-free at 855-787-2227 at least 72 hours before travel with any questions about screening procedures and find out what to expect at the security checkpoint. TSA Cares also arranges assistance at the checkpoint for travelers with specific needs.
- @AskTSA. Travelers can get assistance in real-time by submitting their questions and comments to @AskTSA on Twitter, Facebook Messenger, and via text message using any mobile device to “AskTSA” (275-872). An automated virtual assistant is available 24/7, while the staff is available daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST, including holidays and weekends. Travelers may also reach the TSA Contact Center at 866-289-9673. Staff is available from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends/holidays, and an automated service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- If You See Something. Say Something®. Public awareness remains a critical element of transportation security, and we all play a role in keeping our communities safe. For additional information, please visit the DHS website.
- Practice good cybersecurity habits. Effective cybersecurity habits are not limited to the home or office. Those traveling – whether domestically or internationally – should continue practicing safe online behaviors. Take proactive steps to secure internet-enabled devices. For example, practice the concept of stop, think and connect before connecting to any public wireless hotspot, such as airports, hotels, and cafés. For more cybersecurity tips, visit cisa.gov.
- Show gratitude to frontline workers. Thank a TSO, a flight attendant, a gate agent, or someone who serves at the front of transportation. TSOs complete about 200 hours of certification training and are committed to transportation security while ensuring all travelers are treated with respect and courtesy. Pack an extra dose of patience, especially during higher passenger volume travel days, and show gratitude to those working diligently to get everyone to their destinations safely.
TSA also has videos for parents and families to watch with young children. The latest edition in the “TSA KIDS” series is for families traveling with gifts.
TSA KIDS videos cover various travel tips, including traveling with snacks and traveling with electronics.
More information on the TSA KIDS video is available on their YouTube page.
To provide a higher level of assistance for travelers with questions about airport security screening procedures, airline passengers can send a text using any mobile device to “AskTSA” (275-872).
A virtual assistant is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
AskTSA staff are available daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST for more complicated questions. Passengers may still reach out to AskTSA (@AskTSA) on Twitter or Facebook Messenger with questions and comments.