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Tips from TSA to Prepare for Holiday Travel

by Mary Melnick

Nov 15, 2023

© Monkey Business Images | Dreamstime.com


This travel season, the Transportation Security Administration expects airport security checkpoints nationwide to be busier than ever. The season kicks off with Thanksgiving travel, beginning Nov. 17 and ending Nov. 28. During this period of time, TSA expects to screen 30 million travelers, with the busiest days (historically) being the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday afterward.

“We expect this holiday season to be our busiest ever. In 2023, we have already seen seven of the top 10 busiest travel days in TSA’s history,” said David Pekoske, TSA Administrator. “We are ready for the anticipated volumes and are working closely with our airline and airport partners to make sure we are prepared for this busy holiday travel season. We will also do our best to maintain wait time standards of under 10 minutes for TSA PreCheck® lanes and under 30 minutes for standard screening lanes. I am grateful for our dedicated employees who continue to remain vigilant and focused on the mission during this holiday travel season and beyond.”

With the hustle and bustle of holiday travel, TSA released some tips for travelers to keep in mind.

Pack Smart and Start with Empty Bags

Passengers starting the packing process with an empty bag are less likely to bring prohibited items through security. If you are traveling with foods like gravy, cranberry sauce, wine or jam, it must be packed in a checked bag as they are considered liquids or gels. Before heading to the airport, check for prohibited items by using the What Can I Bring? page on the TSA’s website.

Acceptable ID

Before leaving for the airport, make sure you have an acceptable form of identification. At many checkpoints, travelers may be asked to insert their physical ID into one of TSA’s Credential Authentication Technology units where a boarding pass isn’t needed. Make sure to have your identification out and ready before stepping into the TSA line.

Arrive Early

This is one of the busiest times of year for airports all over the United States with some busier than others. Arrive at least two hours before your flight to allow for enough time to park your car, check bags, get through security and find your gate before take-off.

Be Aware of New Screening Technologies

TSA uses a variety of security methods and technologies among different airports depending on available technology and current threat environment. Some airports have new, state-of-the-art Computed Tomography scanners that improve threat detection capabilities for carry-on bags and reduce physical searches of bag contents.

Call Ahead to Request Passenger Support

Travelers or families of passengers who need extra assistance at the airport should call the TSA Cares helpline at 855 787 2227 at least 72 hours prior to travel with any questions and to arrange assistance.



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