TSA Is Prepared For High Travel Volumes This Memorial Day Weekend And Summer Travel Season

By FOX45
Posted on 05/22/23 | News Source: FOX45

TSA is prepared to screen high volumes of passengers at airport security checkpoints nationwide this summer travel season, which begins Memorial Day weekend and runs through Labor Day.

The agency announced a new benefit to TSA PreCheck membership and continues to deploy checkpoint technology to improve security effectiveness, efficiency, and the passenger experience

TSA forecasts Friday, May 26, to be the busiest day of the long weekend, projecting to screen approximately 2.6 million passengers.

The agency says teenagers aged 13-17 may now accompany TSA PreCheck enrolled parents or guardians through TSA PreCheck screening when traveling on the same reservation and when the TSA PreCheck indicator appears on the teen’s boarding pass. Children 12 and under may still accompany an enrolled parent or guardian when traveling through the TSA PreCheck lanes anytime without restriction.

“TSA is ready to handle this summer’s anticipated increase in travel. Our staffing levels are better and this is largely due to better pay for all TSA employees which starts on July 1st,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “This key action, supported by the President and Congress, enables us, for the first time in TSA’s history, to pay our workforce using the same pay scale that applies to other federal employees. As expected, this has already improved our recruiting and retention rates. For passengers, this will mean better overall staffing for all of TSA’s activities that support secure and efficient travel and an improved passenger experience. Our strong partnerships with airports and airlines will ensure we are able to anticipate and respond to changes in passenger travel throughout the summer. Passengers can help as well by being prepared, by having their identification ready when they begin screening and checking to make sure they aren’t bringing firearms, oversized liquids or any other prohibited item into the checkpoint. One person’s actions can delay screening for everyone else.”

At a press conference at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens and six airport and airline partners joined Pekoske to discuss their operational preparedness for anticipated summer travel volumes, changes in transportation security, and other travel tips.

To continue to modernize airport checkpoints, enhance security effectiveness and efficiency and improve the passenger experience, TSA is deploying new technology solutions nationwide. Credential Authentication Technology (CAT) units confirm the authenticity of a passenger’s identification credentials, along with their flight details and pre-screening status (such as TSA PreCheck) all without a boarding pass.

With CAT, passengers only need to provide their acceptable photo identification to the officer. The second generation of CAT, also called CAT-2, in use at several airports nationwide, has the same capabilities but is also equipped with a camera that captures a real-time photo of the traveler at the Travel Document Checker podium. CAT-2 compares the traveler’s photo on the identification credential against the in-person, real-time photo. Once the CAT-2 confirms the match, a TSA officer will verify and the traveler can proceed to security screening, without ever exchanging a boarding pass. TSA officers may perform additional passenger verification if needed. Photos captured by CAT units are never stored or used for any other purpose than immediate identity verification.

Travelers who do not wish to participate in the facial matching process may opt out in favor of an alternative identity verification process without losing their place in line. TSA is committed to protecting passenger privacy, civil rights, civil liberties and ensuring the public’s trust as it seeks to improve the passenger experience through its exploration of identity verification technologies.