71ºF

Here's what the TSA says you should do to travel smoothly this summer

Nearly 200 guns seized at Florida airports this year

photo

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Transportation Security Administration said Tuesday that it is preparing for another record-breaking travel season this summer, as 243 million passengers and crew are projected to pass through security checkpoints nationwide between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Last summer, TSA screened more than 239 million people during the same period, which included four of the top 10 busiest days in the agency’s history.

The TSA said it has increased its checkpoint staff by more than 600 officers since the beginning of the year and expects to increase by another 1,000 officers before the peak of this year’s summer travel season. The TSA plans to have approximately 50 more passenger-screening canine teams operational this summer.

"TSA screens over 2 million passengers on an average day throughout the year and expects to screen over 2.6 million a day during peak periods of the busy summer travel season,” TSA administrator David Pekoske said. “Our officers are committed to ensuring the highest level of security for the traveling public even as passenger volume increases year after year.”

As a reminder, TSA recently completed the rollout of enhanced screening procedures and there are a few things passengers can do to assist TSA with keeping wait times to a minimum this summer: 

  • Always check personal belongings and carry-ons for prohibited items 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.
  • Pack your carry-on so that it can be easily screened. Examples of personal electronic items that should be scanned separately include laptops, tablets, e-readers and cameras. Additionally, TSA may provide instructions to remove items from your bag such as foods, powders, and any materials that can clutter bags and obstruct clear images on the X-ray machine.

Meanwhile, TSA officers at airports across the state have stopped a record number of passengers who brought guns to the checkpoints.

SAMPLING OF AIRPORTS

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

As of May 2018 YTD

State Total

228

251

276

411

511

198

DAB

1

5

3

6

6

2

FLL

40

49

43

56

72

33

TPA

35

49

49

79

97

32

MCO

47

47

49

86

94

46

 

“Travelers are reminded that they might be heading to jail rather than to their desired destination if they don’t focus on what is inside their carry-on bags,” TSA spokeswoman Sari Koshetz said. “So far this year, we have stopped 198 guns at Florida airports. The escalation is not only troubling but dangerous, as most of the guns have been loaded.”

Firearms must be unloaded and locked in a hard-sided container and transported as checked baggage only. See TSA's rules for checking guns before you fly here.

In addition to firearms, TSA officers stop tons of prohibited items, such as knives and brass knuckles, and they intercept tens of thousands of pounds of hazmat items.

The TSA said to place everything in your pockets or clipped to your waistband into your own carry-on before you even get to the checkpoint. Forgetting to remove items might result in a patdown when you alarm the screening equipment.  Those items include belts, wallets, coins and large, metal costume jewelry. Do not remove rings. 

Recently enhanced screening rules means electronics larger than a cellphone do need to be removed from your bag and placed in a bin at the checkpoint, unless you are in the TSA Precheck program.


About the Author: