The Transportation Security Administration has seen an increase in travel this year and anticipates airport security checkpoints nationwide will be very busy this holiday travel season.
“We expect to be busier this year than last year at this time, and probably very close to pre-pandemic levels,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “We are prepared to handle the projected increase in travel volumes next week. However, going forward, making the TSA pay levels equal to other federal agencies is critical to our ability in 2023 to recruit, train, equip and retain a highly skilled and professional workforce on the frontlines of transportation security. It is up to Congress to act on the President’s budget request without delay, enabling TSA to address the current pay gap, which is up to 30% compared with other federal employees.”
Travel volumes this year have been notably higher leading up to holiday weekends. TSA estimated 2.5 million passengers at checkpoints nationwide on Wednesday, Nov. 23, and may surpass 2.5 million passengers on Sunday, Nov. 27.
TSA recorded the heaviest passenger screening volume in its history on the Sunday following Thanksgiving in 2019, where Transportation Security Officers screened nearly 2.9 million passengers at checkpoints nationwide. On that same day in 2021, TSOs screened nearly 2.5 million passengers nationwide.
Travelers should keep these top tips in mind before arriving at the airport:
● Pack smart. Prepare for security when packing for your trip and be aware of what can go in carry-on or checked bags.
● Do not bring firearms or other weapons to the checkpoint. Passengers are prohibited from packing firearms in carry-on luggage. However, they are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage, as long as they are properly packaged and declared at the airline ticket counter.
● Bring an acceptable ID. At many airport checkpoints, the TSO may ask you to insert your physical ID into one of our new Credential Authentication Technology units.
● Be 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.
● Request passenger support. Travelers or families of passengers with disabilities and/or medical conditions may call TSA Cares at 855-787-2227 at least 72 hours prior to travel.
● Ask TSA. Travelers can get assistance in real time by submitting their questions and comments to @AskTSA on Twitter or Facebook Messenger. Travelers may also reach the TSA Contact Center at 866-289-9673.
● See Something. Say Something. Vigilant travelers who report suspicious activity help keep people and goods moving through the nation’s transportation network.
● Practice good cybersecurity habits. Take proactive steps to secure Internet-enabled devices. For more cybersecurity tips, visit cisa.gov.
● Show gratitude to frontline workers. Thank a TSO employee, a flight attendant or someone who serves at the frontline of transportation.