Air travelers will notice some significant changes at the security checkpoints.
We're right at the height of summer, and vacationers are taking to the skies once again. Since the first new guidelines for airline passengers were rolled out in May, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recently unveiled several additional procedures for at U.S. airports.
The safety measures were created in response to COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines.
“TSA remains committed to the health and safety of our frontline workers and airline travelers. We anticipate these prudent changes in our screening procedures, which seek to limit physical contact and increase physical distance, will achieve the security standard the public expects and facilitate the increasing population of travelers this summer.” —David Pekoske, Administrator of the TSA
Here are some of the changes you can expect at the TSA checkpoint when you get ready to board your next flight.
1. Wear a mask.
Both TSA agents and passengers are expected to wear face coverings during the screening process. A homemade mask or scarf is sufficient; just make sure it covers your nose and mouth.
2. Be ready to self-scan your boarding pass.
When it's your turn to be screened, you will be directed to scan your boarding pass in front of the TSA agent. You can also use an electronic ticket on your phone; just be sure to have it pulled up when you're at the front of the line. The agent will also check your photo identification without touching it, so be ready to show it.
3. Separate your food into a separate bag for X-ray screening.
Food sometimes triggers an alarm during the screening process. If you've pre-packed your food items in an easily removable plastic bag and placed it separately in one of the trays, the security agents won't have to open your carry-on and search through it to find the food.
4. Use your carry-on.
Instead of putting your jacket, belt, and change in the plastic bins, try to minimize contact with high-touch surfaces and tuck your belongings in your carry-on instead. Keep one side pocket open and empty for easy access.
5. Maintain social distancing.
As hard as it is to give people space while in a crowded line, try to have at least six feet between your party and the person in front of you. Floor stickers and signs should be visible to remind all travelers of this.
6. Glove up!
TSA agents are required to change their gloves after each passenger pat-down. When in doubt, you can request that an agent do so before conducting a physical search of your body.
7. Take your hand sanitizer.
Limits on liquids have been raised for bottles of commercially-prepared hand sanitizer. You can now have up to 12 ounces per passenger in your carry-on luggage, as well as pre-moistened disinfecting wipes.
8. Respect the boundaries.
You'll notice more plexiglass shields around the airport and screening areas. Be sure to stand behind it if you're guided to one, and don't peer around it to talk to the TSA agent.
Not flown since March? You may notice plastic shielding installed at various locations throughout the TSA checkpoint. This is one of the many ways TSA is committed to our #StayHealthyStaySecure campaign. For more information, visit https://t.co/MW5q4Qa6Em pic.twitter.com/41Kt4C5hyR— TSA (@TSA) July 10, 2020
*The photos in this article are courtesy of the TSA's Facebook page unless credited otherwise.
Have you been through the new TSA screening process yet? Which airport were you at and how did it go for you? Let us know in the comments.