COPPELL, Texas (AP) - The people who screen your bag at the airport are expecting big crowds this summer.
And in hopes of keeping lines from growing too long, the Transportation Security Administration says it is planning to move screeners from some airports to busier ones.
TSA Administrator David Pekoske (pay-KOSS-key) said Tuesday that his agency has quadrupled the number of employees who can fill in at airports where lines get too long.
That's part of TSA's plans for handling travel numbers that could match and even exceed those of 2019.
The TSA has screened about 90% as many people in April and May as it screened in the same stretch of 2019.
According to the TSA, to date, they deployed 1,621 CAT units to 176 airports. Among those, 90 CAT units are modified and equipped to read and verify digital identification. TSA also deployed 402 CT units to 163 airports nationwide.
In March, the agency announced the award of two orders for the procurement and maintenance of additional base and full-size CT scanners to be installed at checkpoints during the summer months.
The CT units provide TSA officers the ability to review a 3D image of passengers’ bags and reduce the need to search the bag’s contents. Passengers screened in security lanes with CT units do not need to remove their travel-size liquids bag or electronics.
The new CT units are currently being installed at Billings Logan International Airport in Montana, Albany International Airport in New York, Buffalo Niagara International Airport in New York, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport and Raleigh-Durham International Airport in North Carolina.
For those who choose to travel this summer, follow these five simple tips to get through the TSA checkpoint quickly and efficiently.
Information gathered from the TSA website
Tip 1: Face masks are optional, but recommended. The CDC recommends face masks for passengers aged two and older in indoor areas of public transportation and transportation hubs as an effective precaution for those who seek to avoid exposure to COVID in higher risk public spaces. CDC provides heath recommendations for domestic travel during COVID-19 and for international travel on its website at CDC.gov.
Tip 2: Pack smart; start with empty bags. Airline passengers who pack for travel with empty bags are less likely to bring prohibited items through a TSA checkpoint. Technology and modifications help reduce the need for physical contact with TSA officers, but those who take time to come prepared for the TSA checkpoint are far more likely to avoid delay and physical contact. Check for prohibited items by using the “What Can I Bring?” page on TSA.gov.
Tip 3: Know before you go. Airports, like highways, have high traffic surges and construction delays. Plan to arrive at the airport in plenty of time to check in, check bags and complete security screening in time to avoid stressful sprints to the departure gate. At the TSA checkpoint, have a valid ID card readily available and follow the liquids rule of 3.4 ounces or less, with the exception of hand sanitizer, which has a temporary 12-ounce limit in carry-on baggage.
Tip 4: Contact TSA for help if there are questions or concerns. Those who are preparing to travel and may have special circumstances, considerations or general questions about airport screening can get live assistance by tweeting questions and comments to @AskTSA or via Facebook Messenger, weekdays from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. EDT and weekends/holidays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. EDT. You can also call the TSA Contact Center at 866-289-9673.
TSA also offers TSA Cares, a helpline for travelers with disabilities, medical conditions and other special circumstances. You may submit a request for assistance by calling TSA Cares at 855-787-2227, weekdays from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. and weekends/holidays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. TSA Cares are open 365 days a year. Passengers may also use the TSA Cares form available on the TSA website which can be found at https://www.tsa.gov/travel/passenger-support.
Tip 5: Enroll now in TSA PreCheck® to “Travel with Ease.” By enrolling in TSA PreCheck, airline passengers can avoid removing shoes, belts, liquids, food, laptops and light jackets at the TSA checkpoint. Most new enrollees receive their known traveler number within five days, and membership lasts for five years. In April, 94% of TSA PreCheck passengers waited less than 5 minutes at the checkpoint.
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