WASHINGTON (NEWS10) – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is prepared for spring break travel. But, what can travelers do to be prepared for airport checkpoint screening during a pandemic?
TSA shares five tips to help you through your checkpoint journey. Travelers can use these to help you stay healthy and stay secure when going through the security screening process.
- Reduce touchpoints. TSA is taking steps to reduce touchpoints in checkpoints, and travelers can do the same. When walking through the screening equipment, travelers need to remove all items from their pockets. When doing so, put those items (keys, wallet, cell phone, lip balm, etc.) directly into your carry-on instead of into the plastic bin. This will reduce contact between your belongings and the publicly used bins. If the checkpoint has a computed tomography scanner, travelers may leave their electronics inside their carry-on. So, pay attention to the guidance the TSA officer is providing about what items can remain in your carry-on.
- Pack an extra mask. Individuals who are in airports and on airplanes must wear a mask. So, be sure to remember to wear it! If you aren’t wearing a mask at the security checkpoint, a TSA officer will remind you to put it on. Refusal means you will not be allowed through the checkpoint. Most passengers follow the mask mandate. Smart travelers pack an extra mask or two in case the elastic strap breaks, their mask becomes dirty, or to swap out a fresh mask for one that has been worn for several hours. Consider packing an extra one—just in case you need it.
- Bring hand sanitizer and wipes. TSA is allowing travelers to bring up to one 12-ounce container of liquid hand sanitizer per person through the checkpoint. This will add some time to your checkpoint screening experience, but well worth that extra minute or two. Additionally, individuals can bring sanitizing wipes through checkpoints. There’s no limit on the sanitizing wipes, so bring on the wipes and liquid hand sanitizer.
- Pack smart. Travelers need to know what can and cannot go in their carry-on. Now more than ever, it is important to know what items should not be packed in a carry-on. If a carry-on triggers an alarm, it will require a TSA officer to open the bag to resolve the alarm. Remember, it’s vital to reduce touchpoints during a pandemic, so be sure not to pack any prohibited items. Unsure if an item should be packed in a carry-on, 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 TSA on Twitter or Facebook Messenger at @AskTSA.
- Pack food in a clear plastic bag. If you plan to travel with food, it’s best to pack your food in a clear plastic bag and put it into your carry-on. When you get to the security checkpoint, remove the clear bag containing your food and put it in the bin to reduce the opportunity for cross-contamination between the food and the bins. Why remove your food at all? Some food items can trigger an alarm during screening. So, instead of a TSA officer opening a bag to see what triggered the alarm, removing your food reduces the likelihood of a bag search.