How to get through TSA quickly during the busiest travel season ever
July 10, 2018
Summertime is one of the busiest times for the relocation industry when it comes to travel. Whether you are relocating by yourself or with your family, domestic or internationally, there's one thing you can be sure of: TSA checkpoints can be exhausting and very time-consuming. More than 2.67 million people passed through TSA checkpoints the Friday before July 4th, breaking the all-time record of 2.71 million on the Sunday after Thanksgiving.
On a normal travel day, the TSA screens between 2.2 and 2.3 million people a day. So far in 2018, six days have topped the TSA's 10 busiest travel days of screening passengers and crew members at checkpoints nationwide with five of the six days recorded in June and the sixth in May. Before thinking about rebooking that move, vacation or hometown visit, all it takes to get through this busy season is a little preparation and a lot of patience.
There are a few newer TSA policies to keep in mind the next time you fly that will make your experience a little less stressful.
Get to the airport earlier than you'd think
Some of us definitely feel like we’ve got this travel thing down to the minute detail. Larger than normal crowds this travel season will put a damper on your timing. For travel this summer, the TSA recommends arriving anywhere between 90 minutes to two hours before domestic flights and up to three hours before international flights to give yourself extra time to get through those extra-long security lines.
Check your powders
If you've traveled with any sort of frequency, you know that you can only carry on liquids in containers 3.4 ounces or smaller, but did you as of June 30 powders could start slowing the screening process down. Foreign airports are placing heavier scrutiny on travelers flying into the United States with more than 12 ounces of powder in their carry-on. These powders could include baby powder, detergent, makeup powder, protein or energy powers, per the TSAs advice check these powders or leave them at home to skip the added screenings.
Take your snacks out of your carry-on
In recent month, travelers have reported being asked to remove all of their food from their carry-ons for extra screening. You may pack food in your carry-on or checked bag, but remember all food must undergo x-ray screening. Foods that are liquids, gels, or aerosols must comply with the 3-1-1 liquids rule. TSA officers make the final decision on whether certain items are permitted into the secured areas of the airport. This new policy went into effect in 2017 to help TSA agents screen cluttered carry-ons more easily. So if you have a long domestic or international flight where you need to bring extra snacks for yourself or the kids, just go ahead and take it out with your electronics to avoid being screened later.
Planning ahead and packing properly can facilitate the screening process and ease your travel experience at the airport, especially if traveling with children. The TSA provides a travel checklist giving you advice on how to get through checkpoints easily, efficiently and most importantly stress-free.