Avoca, PA (May 18, 2022) – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is prepared to handle an increase in the number of travelers who will be flying out of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport as travel volume picks up this month and into the summer.
“Memorial Day Weekend is around the corner and already this month we have started to see an uptick in checkpoint volume,” said Karen Keys-Turner, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “Travel volume here at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is currently at about 70 percent of pre-pandemic levels. Nationally we expect to see travel rebound to near or above pre-pandemic levels this summer. It is likely that airports and security checkpoints nationwide will be busier that we’ve ever seen them.”
Typically, from late May through Labor Day Weekend, TSA sees a sustained period of increased checkpoint volume. During the global pandemic, passenger volume fell dramatically. This year, TSA expects to see the travel volume making a strong recovery with leisure, business and international travel showing signs of recovery. TSA officers across the country are currently screening approximately 2.2 million people daily, which is a significant increase from last year. However, on the busiest days this summer, national daily travel volume will come close to or top 3 million people per day, resulting in the highest checkpoint volume in TSA’s history.
Due to the increase in passenger volume, “my advice is to get to the airport two hours before your scheduled flight,” Keys-Turner said. “Mark my word, it is going to be crowded. Also keep in mind that many individuals have not flown in a very long time and people are rusty in terms of security protocols, which means it is taking somewhat longer to screen travelers. Many passengers may not be familiar with the changes that the airlines, airports, and TSA have implemented.”
As local residents fly back into Wilkes-Barre/Scranton from other locations, they may come across airports elsewhere that have new state-of-the-art technologies installed such as credential authentication technology, which verifies the validity of someone’s ID and computed tomography 3-D scanners that give TSA officers a clear 360-degree X-ray image of the contents of someone’s carry-on bags. “Travelers who are unfamiliar with these technologies should listen to the guidance that TSA officers are providing because they may be helping you navigate through the new technologies that are new you,” Keys-Turner said.
TSA is no longer requiring travelers to wear masks, however they remain optional and a TSA officer will ask a traveler with a mask to remove it momentarily to verify that the person’s face matches the face on their ID.
Due to the on-going pandemic, the agency is still allowing travelers to bring one liquid hand sanitizer container up to 12 ounces per passenger in carry-on bags until further notice. Passengers can expect that these containers larger than the standard allowance of 3.4 ounces of liquids permitted through a checkpoint will need to be screened separately, which will add some time to their checkpoint experience.
TSA’s Top Summer Travel Tips
- Arrive at the airport early and be prepared to see a long line. Travel this summer is expected to be the busiest on record.
- While standing in a checkpoint line, use the time in line wisely. Remove items from pockets such as wallets, keys, lip balm, tissues and cell phones and place them into carry-on bags instead of putting items from pockets directly into bins. It’s also the best time to have ID and boarding passes in hand prior to walking up to the travel document checking podium.
- Enroll in TSA PreCheck®. The popular expedited screening program allows travelers to leave on shoes, jackets, belts and enables them to keep their electronics and 3-1-1 bags in their carry-on bags. Due to these benefits, the TSA PreCheck lanes move the quickest.
- Know before you go! Know what can and cannot go in a carry-on bag from firearms to oversize liquids. Prohibited items result in checkpoint delays. Unsure if an item should be packed in a carry-on bag, checked bag, either or neither? Download the free myTSA app, which has a handy “What can I bring?” feature that allows you to type in the item to find out if it can fly. Or ask us on Twitter or Facebook Messenger at @AskTSA.
- Travelers or families of passengers with disabilities and/or medical conditions may call the TSA Cares helpline toll free at 855-787-2227 at least 72 hours prior to flying with any questions about screening policies, procedures and to find out what to expect at the security checkpoint as well as arrange for assistance at the checkpoint.
- Get your REAL ID-compliant ID this summer. Travelers will need a REAL ID-compliant credential to board a flight after May 3, 2023. Don’t wait, get it this year.