TSA Screens Record-Breaking Travel Numbers in Busiest Summer Ever

TSA officers screened 13 million more travelers compared to last year
TSA officers screened 13 million more travelers compared to last year

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) marked a new record-breaking summer travel season, screening more than a quarter of a billion travelers, the busiest in TSA history.

With the summer travel season spanning from the Wednesday before Memorial Day until the Tuesday after Labor Day, TSA officers screened 253 million passengers and crew, nearly 6 percent more this year than last year during the same period.

TSA also screened nearly 165 million pieces of checked baggage.

(Learn about the TSA’s inline baggage screening systems, which are automated screening equipment that remotely screen and clear a bag without the use of a physical inspection. Courtesy of the TSA and YouTube. Posted on May 24, 2016.)

Additionally, TSA experienced nine of the top 10 busiest weeks in its history during the summer season – for a total of 13 million more travelers compared to last year.

To support this passenger surge, TSA began planning with airline and airport partners to improve screening capabilities earlier this year.

The agency also increased TSA security checkpoint staff by more than 1,600 officers since the beginning of the year.

David Pekoske, TSA Administrator
David Pekoske, TSA Administrator

“TSA officers, using enhanced procedures, better technology and added assistance from airline and airport partners, ensured that travelers got to their destinations safe and secure,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske.

“We were able to effectively and efficiently screen more than 2.6 million passengers on many of these days, which is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our entire team and the support of the industry.”

(TSA uses advanced imaging technology to safely screen passengers at the checkpoint. Advanced imaging technology uses automated target recognition software that eliminates passenger-specific images and instead auto-detects potential threats by indicating their location on a generic outline of a person. Courtesy of TSA and YouTube. Posted on May 11, 2016.)

Even with the surge of travelers this season, 97 percent of passengers waited less than 20 minutes in standard lanes, and 94 percent of TSA Pre✓® lane passengers waited less than five minutes.

As TSA transitions into the upcoming holiday travel period, passengers are reminded to plan ahead and pack properly to help keep wait times to a minimum as crowds increase:

(Learn about the Global Entry program and how it can help you speed through international airports! Also, find out about other benefits that Global Entry members enjoy. Courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and YouTube. Posted on Feb 3, 2015.)

  • Always check personal belongings for prohibited items such as knives and guns 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.
    • You may now check how busy the airport is likely to be on your specific day and time of travel based on historical data.

(When was the last time government tech made your life easier? WSJ’s Geoffrey A. Fowler shows you how to skip the long border control line with the Mobile Passport app. Courtesy of Emily Prapuolenis, The Wall Street Journal and YouTube. Posted on Jun 29, 2016.)

  • Pack your carry-on bag so that it can be easily screened.

    • Examples of personal electronic items that should be placed in a bin to be scanned separately include laptops, tablets, e-readers, and cameras.
    • Additionally, TSA officers may provide instructions to remove items from your bag such as foods, powders, and any materials that can clutter bags, obstruct clear images on the X-ray machine or require additional screening.

To Learn More, visit tsa.gov. Not sure what is allowed on the plane? Send your questions to @AskTSA on Twitter and Facebook Messenger.

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