TSA shares tips ahead of anticipated busy holiday travel season

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials are predicting air travel at the Frederick Douglass-Greater Rochester International Airport will exceed pre-pandemic levels this holiday season.

The agency is reminding passengers what they’re allowed to carry onboard, especially when it comes to food and holiday gifts.

For travelers, this can be one of the most stressful parts of their vacation, but if you follow these steps you’ll easily get through the TSA checkpoint, and to your flight quicker.

Bart Johnson, TSA Federal Security Director for Upstate New York said travel through the airport last year was down 98%, but this year, things have certainly turned around.

"Here in Rochester they’re back just about 100% if not even a little higher," Johnson said.

His first tip to get you through the airport quicker is to arrive 2 hours early.

"You’re relaxed. You’re not rushed. You’re thinking more clearly. You’re much more engaging with the officers, and you get through it," Johnson said.

Also, be prepared before getting in line at the checkpoint.

"Make sure you have your boarding pass or your device to be scanned. Make sure you have your valid ID out, Real ID, a passport, driver’s license," Johnson said.

Know what, and what not to pack.

"Unfortunately people still continually bring oversized liquids, and then what has to happen these officers take that bag off the conveyor belt, open it, search it. Things start backing up. So don’t be that person," Johnson said.

That includes weapons.

"TSA confiscated a record number of handguns so far this year," Johnson said. "So be careful about that. It puts the officers in danger, and it creates a great deal of unnecessary disruptions."

Johnson said the fastest way is to sign up for TSA Precheck.

"You don’t have to take your light jacket off. You don’t have to take your shoes off, you don’t have to remove devices, certain things from your carry-on luggage, and you have expedited screening normally no more than 5 minutes in line," Johnson said.

As part of COVID-19 safety protocols, face masks must be worn at all times inside the airport unless you’re eating or drinking. Click here for more information on the gifts, and foods that you can travel with.