TSA Says Expect a Wait at Airport Security This Summer
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Although the Transportation Security Administration is hiring additional officers and canine units for what is looking like its busiest summer on record, the government body wants flyers to know that long security lines are inevitable during this peak travel season.
“Most summer days will seem like holiday time with the increase in passengers expected throughout the summer,” Bart Johnson, Federal Security Director for TSA, said at a press conference Monday at Albany International Airport (ALB).
TSA expects to screen 243 million people between Memorial Day and Labor Day 2018. That tops 2017’s total summer numbers, which clocked in at about 239 million people screened.
On the busiest summer travel days (like holiday weekends) the agency expects to process about 2.7 million passengers through security checkpoints, which would match its all-time record for most passengers screened in one day set on the Sunday after Thanksgiving in 2004.
And during the 2018 spring break travel season, the TSA said several US airports saw 3.77 million more passengers than the same time period in 2017.
So the top tip the TSA is giving summer flyers? Get to the airport at least 90 minutes to two hours before your flight’s scheduled to takeoff, Johnson says. And plan to arrive up to three hours before an international flight. It’s an old rule of thumb that most experienced flyers (especially those with PreCheck) tend to brush off. But it might be time to put it back in practice again.
Even PreCheck flyers might not be guaranteed expedited security lines during the crush of summer travelers, thanks to a new policy that funnels passengers from regular security lines into TSA PreCheck lines if bomb-sniffing dogs have screened them. Even though this policy has been criticized by Congress, TSA says if it ends it could ensnare passengers in security lines for hours.
Fortunately, the TSA is trying to address the massive wave of expected summer travelers. In addition to hiring 1,600 more officers and 50 more bomb-sniffing dogs, the agency is adding things like 3D bag scanners, which allow officers to rotate the x-ray images and cuts down on hand searches of carry-ons. At least 35 of the 3D scanners will be installed in airports across the US this summer as part of a the TSA’s $7.7 billion requested budget.
Featured image by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
- Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.