Published On: Mon, Sep 10th, 2018

TSA hits Record Breaking Travel Numbers in Busiest Summer Season Ever

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) marked a record-breaking summer travel season, screening more than a quarter of a billion travelers, the busiest in TSA history. With the summer travel season spanning from the Wednesday before Memorial Day until the Tuesday after Labor Day, TSA officers screened 253 million passengers and crew, nearly 6 percent more this year than last year during the same period, possibly due to a rise in last minute all inclusive travel deals for vacationers.

TSA also screened nearly 165 million pieces of checked baggage.

In addition, TSA experienced nine of the top 10 busiest weeks in its history during the summer season. To support this passenger surge, TSA began planning with airline and airport partners to improve screening capabilities earlier this year. The agency also increased TSA security checkpoint staff by more than 1,600 officers since the beginning of the year.

2010 photo/Lasse Fuss

“TSA officers, using enhanced procedures, better technology and added assistance from airline and airport partners, ensured that travelers got to their destinations safe and secure,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “We were able to effectively and efficiently screen more than 2.6 million passengers on many of these days, which is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our entire team and the support of the industry.”

Even with the surge of travelers this season, 97 percent of passengers waited less than 20 minutes in standard lanes, and 94 percent of TSA Pre✓® lane passengers waited less than five minutes.

As TSA transitions into the upcoming holiday travel period, passengers are reminded to plan ahead and pack properly to help keep wait times to a minimum as crowds increase:

  • Apply for the TSA Pre✓® expedited screening program. U.S. Travelers who are U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals and lawful permanent residents can apply for TSA Pre✓® for a cost of $85 for five years. For TSA Pre✓® travelers, there is no need to remove shoes, laptops, 3-1-1 liquids, belts or light jackets. If you fly internationally, consider Global Entry. Use the Trusted Traveler tool to find the best program for you.
  • Always check personal belongings for prohibited items such as knives and guns before going to the airport.
  • Check with the airlines and airports to determine wait times during peak periods. The MyTSA App is also a great resource to help figure out when you should get to the airport. You may now check how busy the airport is likely to be on your specific day and time of travel based on historical data.
  • Pack your carry-on bag so that it can be easily screened. Examples of personal electronic items that should be placed in a bin to be scanned separately include laptops, tablets, e-readers, and cameras. Additionally, TSA officers may provide instructions to remove items from your bag such as foods, powders, and any materials that can clutter bags, obstruct clear images on the X-ray machine or require additional screening.
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