Up in the Air!

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is predicting record-breaking travel this holiday season, with over 30 million passengers expected to pass through U.S. airports between November 17 and December 25. This is a significant increase from last year when TSA screened 25 million passengers during the same period.

There are several factors contributing to the expected surge in holiday travel. First, the economy is stronger than it was last year, and people have more disposable income to spend on travel. Second, the COVID-19 pandemic is subsiding, and people are more comfortable traveling again. Third, many people are eager to reunite with loved ones for the holidays after being separated for so long.

The TSA is prepared for the increased volume of travelers and is taking steps to reduce wait times at security checkpoints. These steps include:

  • Opening more security lanes.
  • Increasing the number of TSA officers.
  • Using technology to expedite the screening process.

Travelers can also help to reduce wait times by:

  • Arriving at the airport early.
  • Having their boarding passes and identification ready.
  • Packing light and avoiding bringing prohibited items.

Despite the TSA’s efforts, travelers should still expect some delays at security checkpoints. The agency is recommending that passengers allow at least two hours to get through security.

Here are some additional reasons why TSA predicts record-breaking travel this holiday season:

  • The pent-up demand for travel: After two years of pandemic-related restrictions, people are eager to travel again.
  • The availability of affordable travel options: Airlines are offering competitive fares in order to attract customers.
  • The popularity of winter destinations: Many people are planning to visit warm-weather destinations to escape the cold weather.

Overall, the TSA is anticipating a busy holiday travel season. Travelers should be prepared for some delays, but they can also take steps to make their travel experience more enjoyable.

Here are some travel tips from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to help you have a smoother and more enjoyable holiday travel experience:

1. Allow extra time for your trip.

Long line at airport security
  • During the busy holiday season, airports are likely to be crowded and security lines may be long.
  • The TSA recommends that you arrive at the airport at least two hours before your scheduled departure time.

2. Pack smart.

Packing a suitcase for travel
  • Be aware of TSA’s prohibited items list and avoid packing them in your carry-on bag. This includes items such as firearms, explosives, and hazardous materials.
  • Place all liquids, gels, and aerosols in 3-1-1 compliant travel-sized containers and place them in a clear plastic bag.
  • If you are bringing food, declare it to a TSA officer at the security checkpoint. Separate food from other items in your carry-on bag so that it can be easily inspected by TSA officers.
  • Place prescription medication and medical supplies in their original containers with your name on them. Keep these items with you, not in your checked baggage.

3. Have your identification and boarding pass ready.

Boarding pass and identification card
  • You will be required to show your identification to the TSA officer at the security checkpoint. While there have been upgrades to security, at some checkpoints you may also need your boarding pass.
  • To save time, and to keep the line moving, have your documents out and ready before you reach the checkpoint.
  • Children under 18 do not need a photo ID. However, they should have some form of identification, such as a birth certificate, passport, or school ID.

4. Use TSA PreCheck or Clear if you are eligible.

TSA PreCheck sign

TSA PreCheck and Clear are two programs that can help you save time and hassle when going through airport security. Here are some of the benefits of using these programs:

  • Dedicated security lanes: TSA PreCheck members have access to dedicated security lanes that are typically shorter than the standard lanes.
  • Less intrusive screening: TSA PreCheck members do not have to remove their shoes, belts, or jackets, and they can keep their laptops and liquids in their carry-on bags.
  • No need to take liquids out: TSA PreCheck members can leave their liquids, gels, and aerosols in their carry-on bags, as long as they are in 3-1-1 compliant containers.
  • Faster screening times: TSA PreCheck members typically experience shorter screening times than standard passengers.
  • Clear members can skip the line at select stadiums and arenas.

5. Be patient and courteous.

Smiling man with a suitcase
  • TSA officers are working hard to keep passengers safe and secure.
  • Be patient and courteous with them as they work to process travelers through the security checkpoint.

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