TSA Expects a Record Number of Travelers at Airports This Summer – How to Prepare

Usually, TSA and airlines suggest that travelers arrive at the airport at least 3 hours before an international flight. That number can be reduced for local flights to about an hour and a half to two hours. Many people hate the idea of having to be at the airport so many hours before a flight. This news that the TSA is putting out there that there may be a record number of people at US airports, particularly this summer, is not great for those folks.

TSA Administrator David Pekoske told ABC News recently that the agency expects to screen a record number of people this year. That, of course, means that more people will be passing through US airports than ever before. The number is already 8% more than it was last year at this time. With Memorial Day weekend approaching, it’s reasonable to think that the gap is just going to get wider. Memorial Day weekend is typically thought of as the holiday that kicks off the summer. This is usually the busiest time for TSA. What can travelers do to deal with the increased crowds at airports?

The first thing that’s important to point out is that not every facility in the US is going to be seeing a massive uptick in passenger numbers. However, some of the largest facilities like Atlanta, DFW, LAX, and JFK could see wait times, particularly at TSA checkpoints, increasing considerably. The agency actually expects to have to screen over 3 million people on some peak days during the upcoming summer vacation season. Most of those people will be headed to one of the facilities that were recently mentioned.

One of the obvious things that people can do to deal with the increased crowds is to arrive at the airport earlier. This can indeed be a bit of a fruitless effort in certain situations. You may arrive at the counter and realize that the airline isn’t taking bags for your flight when you get there. Even if you’re not waiting in line at that point, you’ll still be waiting around. You’ll eventually get to the TSA checkpoint around the same time as somebody who spent a few more minutes at home. Make sure to check with the airline to see how much time before the flight you’re going to be able to check in. That’s going to give you a good range to go by.

Perhaps the best thing that you can do to avoid some of these issues is to enroll in the TSA precheck program. It’s not such a costly program for travelers who are headed to the skies at least a few times a year. Also, many new airlines entered the program recently. At this point, any flight you book from a US airport will likely allow you to benefit from the program. The most important of these benefits, of course, is the fact that you can use the precheck line and save a ton of time in the process.

Mario Perez

Author: Mario Perez


Mario is a seasoned journalist who’s worked with multiple publications over the years. He has a passion for looking for that story within the story itself. When he’s not actively looking for breaking news, he enjoys playing and watching sports.

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