The Transportation Security Administration is expecting a record breaking number of flyers traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday travel period with more than 26.8 million passengers traveling through security screening checkpoints nationwide Nov. 22 through Dec. 2, according to a TSA press release.
TSA officials are prepared to process the volume of passengers at airport security checkpoints, working closely with airports and airlines to project numbers and peak periods, the press release said.
“We expect record breaking travel volume this 2019 holiday season, following our busiest summer ever,” TSA acting deputy administrator Patricia Cogswell said in the release. “To plan for the season, partnerships with industry and stakeholders are critical to keep travelers moving safely and securely to holiday destinations. We want to ensure travelers are as best prepared as they can be.”
The busiest travel days leading up to Thanksgiving will be Nov. 27, the Wednesday before the holiday, with 2.7 million passengers and crew expected, and Dec. 1, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, when more than 2.8 million travelers are expected to be flying home. On a typical weekday, TSA screens about 2.1 million passengers, according to the release.
Through the TSA Airport Operations Center and in coordination with airport and airline partners, TSA monitors and maintains security operations at checkpoints nationwide. The center tracks daily screening operations and deploys personnel, canine teams and technology where needed.
The best way to ensure a quick trip through the security screening process is to arrive early and be prepared. Travelers are encouraged to allow time to park cars or return rental cars, check bags with the airline and get boarding passes, all before heading to the security checkpoint. TSA recommends getting to the terminal at least two hours early for domestic travel and at least three hours for international travel.
Additionally, travelers should keep these top five tips in mind:
• Pack smart. Prepare for security when packing and ensure that there are no prohibited items in baggage. Passengers can bring pies, cakes and other baked goods through the checkpoints; however, liquids such as eggnog and maple syrup, and gels such as preserves and jellies, should go into checked bags. Liquids in carry-on must follow the 3-1-1 liquids rule. Check the TSA website for more information.
• Renew your TSA Pre-Check membership. Individuals who obtained Pre-Check five years ago are now able to renew that membership online. Individuals who do not have TSA Pre-Check should enroll now at one of the more than 200 U.S. airports, in time for holiday travel. With Pre-Check, travelers do not need to remove shoes, laptops, liquids, belts and light jackets.
• Ask for passenger support. Travelers or families of passengers with disabilities and/or medical conditions may call the TSA Cares helpline toll free at 855-787-2227 at least 72 hours prior to flying with any questions about screening policies, procedures and to find out what to expect at the checkpoint.
• Ensure you have proper ID. Identity verification is an important step in the security screening process. Travelers are also reminded that REAL ID enforcement is less than one year away.
• Ask TSA. Travelers can get assistance in real time by submitting their questions and comments to @AskTSA on Twitter or Facebook Messenger on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and on weekends/holidays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET. Travelers can also reach the TSA Contact Center at 866-289-9673. Staff is available from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends/holidays; and an automated service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
For more information about TSA’s screening policies, visit tsa.gov.