With states and countries slowly opening their borders, the TSA is implementing a new set of security procedures to ensure the safety of their travelers. While many are already in effect, more will be coming nation-wide by mid-June
“In the interest of TSA frontline workers and traveler health, TSA is committed to making prudent changes to our screening processes to limit physical contact and increase physical distance as much as possible,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “We continue to evaluate our security measures with an eye towards making smart, timely decisions benefiting health and safety, as well as the traveler experience.”
Travelers should prepare themselves for the following:
1. TSA agents will not touch travelers’ boarding passes. Travelers will be expected to scan their own boarding passes at the pass reader and then lift it for a TSA agent to visually review it. This will protect both the traveler and the TSA agent from any cross-contamination.
2. Food will need to be removed from carry-on bags and placed into a bin for x-ray screening. Food tends to set off the alarms in the screening process requiring a TSA agent to go through the traveler’s bag. Any decrease in the need to open a traveler’s bag limits the potential for cross-contamination.
In that same vein – Travelers will need to follow the rules now more than ever. Liquids, gels and aerosols in quantities greater than 3.4 ounces are prohibited and if left in carry-on bags will require the traveler to either leave security to dispose of it or require a TSA agent to open their bag. Ensuring all rules are followed (this includes removing laptops or large electronics) will help both travelers and TSA agents to keep a safe distance.
3. One 12 ounce, liquid hand sanitizer will be allowed in carry-on bags. Like all liquids, it will need to be removed from the bag to go through x-ray screening.
4. Social distancing and face masks will be the norm. Each airport will look a little different, but anticipate visual and verbal reminders to keep appropriate spacing from TSA agents and other passengers in the security line. TSA agents will be wearing face masks and ask that passengers do as they arrive to the checkpoint as well. Travelers will also be encouraged to place all keys, phones, belts, etc. into their carry-on as opposed to in a bin to eliminate cross-contamination.
Travelers flying for the first time since the pandemic should prepare themselves to see TSA agents wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and standing behind plastic shields. While this may seem unsettling, all actions are taken to protect the TSA agent and the traveler. Each airline and airport has their own set of guidelines, so travelers should be sure to familiarize themselves before traveling. Furthermore, due to the increased security features of social distancing and self-scanning boarding passes, travelers should arrive at the airport earlier with anticipation that lines may be longer than usual.