HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is preparing for an increase in travelers through Harrisburg International Airport as Memorial Day weekend approaches.
Karen Keys-Turner, the TSA’s Federal Security Director for Harrisburg International, said, “Summer travel is around the corner and already we have started to see an increase in travel volume.”
Travel volume at Harrisburg International is approximately 75% of pre-pandemic levels, and the TSA expects volume to bounce back to near or above pre-pandemic levels.
Leisure, business and international travel have all been slowly recovering, and TSA checkpoints could be at their busiest since before COVID-19.
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Currently, TSA agents are screening approximately 2.2 million people per day. However, top travel days, like Memorial Day weekend, could result in more than 3 million people being screened daily, the highest checkpoint volume in TSA history.
“As a result of the increase in passenger volume, my best 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.”
Due to the pandemic, the TSA is still allowing passengers to bring one 12 ounce bottle of liquid hand sanitizer in their carry-on bags, despite the usual 3.4 ounce limit for carry-on liquids.
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Here are the 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.