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The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is preparing for sustained higher passenger volumes at airports nationwide with the busiest travel days occurring from June 29th to July 5th.
The peak travel day of the holiday weekend is expected to be Friday, June 30th. The TSA expects to screen an estimated 2.82 million that day and approximately 17.7 million during the seven-day, holiday travel period. The estimate for June 30th would surpass the current single day travel record that was set on June 16th. The TSA screened nearly 2.8 million passengers that day. This would also beat the peak Independence Day record set in 2019 on July 7th, where 2.79 million passengers were screened.
TSA Administrator, David Pekoske, shared his thoughts:
TSA is staffed and ready for the increasing travel volumes during this holiday travel period with the technologies and resources for improved security effectiveness, efficiency and passenger experience at security checkpoints. This is largely due to the funding we received in FY23 Omnibus Appropriations Act, which places all TSA employees on the same pay scale as most other federal employees. With the new pay implementation plan for all TSA employees starting in July, attrition levels at TSA have dropped to historic lows, which means our increased employee retention has resulted in sufficient staffing levels to meet the increased passenger demand throughout the country. We expect that passenger volumes will continue to grow, and we will continue to work with our industry partners in the transportation network to meet our passenger throughput standards of 30 minutes or less in standard lanes and 10 minutes or less in TSA PreCheck® lanes. We met these standards over 98% of the time so far this year.”
The TSA also shared some tips for making travel during this period less painful. These include:
- TSA PreCheck® members should make sure the TSA PreCheck® is on their boarding passes. This is especially true if flying a new airline. Make sure to enter your Known Traveler Number (KTN) when booking.
- Firearms and ammunition are not permitted in carry–on bags, but are permitted in checked bags when properly packed and declared. This should be a no-brainer, but trying to bring a gun through security will definitely slow you down.
- Pack an empty bag and know before you go. The TSA advises thoroughly emptying your suitcase before packing to ensure there is nothing forgotten and forbidden in there.
- Give yourself plenty of time. With the numbers expected, it’s going to take some time even with TSA PreCheck®.
- Be aware of new checkpoint screening technology. Not much you can do here other than to be ready to roll with the machines being used.
- Make sure you have an acceptable ID.
- Follow TSO guidance. It may seem inconsistent, but it will not make things faster to argue.
- Respect TSA and other frontline airport and airline employees. This also goes for fellow passengers and airline staff.
- Contact TSA with questions, compliments, complaints or assistance. AskTSA is fascinating on Twitter and a good resource.
We’ll be flying home from London on July 4th and I’m hoping for a smooth trip.
Anthony’s Take: The TSA has some good advice above, but my thoughts are to make sure you allot extra time, know what you can bring, and be ready to be patient and kind as everyone will be stressed.
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