September 28, 2021

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Traveling for spring break? Here are 5 ways to prep for airport security during COVID

3 min read

(Transportation Security Administration)

WASHINGTON (WTEN) — The Transportation Security Administration is prepared for spring break travel, but how should travelers prepare for airport checkpoint screening during a pandemic?

The 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.

The TSA is taking steps to reduce touchpoints in checkpoints, and travelers can do the same. When walking through the screening equipment, travelers should remove all items (keys, wallet, cell phone, lip balm, etc.) from their pockets and put them directly into their carry-on instead of into a 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. Be aware of what items TSA officers say you can keep in your carry-on.

Pack an extra mask.

People in airports and on airplanes must wear masks. If you aren’t wearing a mask at the security checkpoint, a TSA officer will remind you to put one on. Refusal means you will not be allowed through the checkpoint. Smart travelers pack an extra mask or two in case the elastic strap breaks, their mask gets dirty or if they need to swap out a mask that has been worn for several hours for a fresh one.

Bring hand sanitizer and wipes. 

The 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 it may be worth that extra few minutes. Additionally, individuals can bring sanitizing wipes through checkpoints. There’s no limit on the sanitizing wipes.

Pack smart. 

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. If you are unsure about which items can and cannot be packed in a carry-on or checked bag, you can download the free myTSA app, which has a “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 it 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 a bin to reduce the opportunity for cross-contamination between the food and the bins. 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.

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