The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screened over 3 million passengers during the Labor Day holiday weekend (Friday, September 4 through Monday, September 7). The TSA stats show a return to air travel and a major uptick in passengers traveling through the US.
“Passenger volume on the busiest day of the Labor Day weekend was up 30% from the busiest day of the July Fourth holiday weekend,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “This is an encouraging trend for the aviation sector as airports, airlines and TSA work together to ensure a secure and safe travel experience for passengers.”
he weekend figure was boosted by the screening of nearly 969,000 passengers on Friday, September 4, and more than 935,000 passengers on Monday, September 7. Those two days represent the most individuals screened on any single day since March 17, 2020.
The TSA screening workforce has been on the front line of COVID-19 response and recovery, and has focused on providing as safe a screening experience as possible. This includes opening additional screening lanes to allow passengers to maintain social distancing at airport checkpoints.
TSA also continues to deploy technologies to reduce or eliminate physical contact between passengers and TSA officers. At some airports, credential authentication devices have been installed at checkpoints that enable passengers to insert an ID directly into a card reader. A new pilot combines that technology with a camera for those who volunteer to have their photo taken and matched against their ID. Image data is never saved, as there is no capacity to do so, and is therefore instantly inaccessible once a passenger removes the ID from the device.
Numerous airport checkpoints now have enhanced computed tomography (CT) scanners that allow TSA officers to manipulate the image on screen to get a better view of a bag’s contents and often enables the officers to clear items without having to open a carry-on bag. The new CT scanner further reduces the need for the TSA officer to require the passenger to remove liquids, aerosols, gels and electronics from their carry-on bags during the screening process. Travelers will also see acrylic barriers installed at various points throughout the TSA checkpoint to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
TSA’s ongoing “Stay Healthy. Stay Secure.” campaign is designed to alert airline travelers to modifications they can expect to see at TSA checkpoints. Travelers are also encouraged to follow CDC as well as other COVID-19 related guidelines and restrictions in place at airlines, airports and local jurisdictions both at home and at their travel destinations.