TSA preps for pre-pandemic levels of travelers during Thanksgiving week
The Transportation Security Agency and our tri-state area airports are preparing for pre-pandemic levels of travelers this upcoming Thanksgiving week.
The TSA says it expects peak travel time to be between Friday Nov. 19 and Monday Nov. 29. However, there are changes nationwide that travelers need to be aware of before entering the airport.
Nationwide TSA officers have been screening between 1.9 and 2.2 million people a day nationwide. That is a large increase from last year but still down from peak pre-pandemic travel.
Robert Duffy, TSA federal security director for LaGuardia Airport, says people should arrive two hours before their flight and check the TSA website ahead of time to find out what you can pack and what you cannot. He says anyone can bring up to 12 ounces of hand sanitizer on board.
He also says they could be getting close to 50,000 people per day.
In additions, travelers must wear a mask from the moment they enter the airport through the terminal and on the entire time on the plane. TSA agents will also be changing out their gloves any time they have to touch a new passenger among other changes.
"Passengers used to get to the airport and they used to hand us their documents so we could check it," says TSA agent Ricot Michel. "Now we tell them you can scan your own documents."
The federal vaccine mandate is also in place for all federal employees.
LaGuardia Airport says it is in the process of getting all of their TSA agents vaccinated and an overwhelming majority of them already are.
Duffy says the increase in traveler numbers is good news for the airport and for the region.
Some travelers say they actually find traveling now more relaxing than it was before the pandemic, saying workers are more focused on customer safety and experience.