The Transportation Security Administration says there is a pent-up demand for travel, and that will be seen at checkpoints in airports across the nation.
So far, TSA has reported they are seeing checkpoint volumes at about 85% of pre-pandemic levels, and those will only increase as summer travel progresses.
Here are some quick need-to-know tips:
GET TO THE AIRPORT WITH TIME TO SPARE
With labor shortages with airlines and TSA combined with an increase in travelers, you could run into some delays. TSA lines could be unpredictable this travel season. Make sure you have your ID and boarding pass in hand and ready to go.
REMEMBER THE LIQUID BREAKDOWN
TSA says one of the biggest mistakes people make while checking in is bringing oversized liquid, gels, and aerosols.
Each passenger may carry liquids, gels, and aerosols in travel-size containers that are 3.4 ounces or100 milliliters. Each passenger is limited to one quart-size bag of liquids, gels, and aerosols. Everyday travel items that must comply with the 3-1-1 liquids rule include toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, mouthwash, and lotion.
Flying earlier in the day means your flight is less likely to get canceled – and you will have more options if it does. Summer travel also means a higher risk of weather delays since severe weather generally begins later in the afternoon. Flying in the morning could help avoid thunderstorms and weather delays, which in turn can have a domino effect.
If you’re checking a bag, make sure to check with your airline on the check-in requirements. Generally, you must do so 45 – 60 minutes before a domestic flight. United, American Airlines, and Delta all require travelers to check their bags 60 minutes before their flight.
TSA is urging anyone flying to enroll in PreCheck. Not only does it get you through the checkpoint faster, but it also eliminates the need for a bin (in most cases) and decreases the amount of contact you have with TSA agents. Enrolling in PreCheck is relatively easy, but it does take a few weeks.
Enrolling is a two-step process. You can start the application online by scheduling an appointment at an enrollment center. The appointment takes about 10 minutes. Your fingerprints are taken for a background check, and you have to pay $85 for a 5-year membership. After that, it normally takes a few weeks to get your approval. Once you are approved, the renewal process is done online.
FLYING WITH FOOD
TSA has put together a list of what food items can stay in your carry-on and what needs to be in your checked baggage. The simple rule TSA follow is, if you can spill it, spread it, spray it, pump it, or pour it, pack it in a checked bag. Here is the full list.
BE KIND AND PATIENT
Be patient and kind to TSA, airline, and airport workers as they work through being short-staffed.