TSA Chief to Holiday Travelers: Please Do Your Part

John Pistole, administrator and head honcho of the Transportation Security Administration, sat down with CNN recently and noted that it’s going to be a busy week for his agency of nearly 50,000 airport security screeners.

What every traveler should know about security

TSA: No Heightened Security Concerns

In response to a question about whether there was any new intelligence that led him to any “heightened concerns” for security, Pistole said “no” but what he really wanted to talk about, it seemed, was moving the lines along.

And no wonder. It’s been estimated that 23 million people will be in the air at some point during the Thanksgiving holiday travel period, widely acknowledged as the busiest time of the year for the airlines. Which means security will be busy, too.

Find out if your airport will be one of the busiest this holiday season

Making Security Lines Move More Quickly

Passengers can help speed things up by knowing what they can and cannot bring through the lines, like a large bottle of water (banned) or wrapped gifts (unwrap) or homemade cakes or pies (they’re okay, although they may take more time to inspect). The fewer passengers that need to be told what to do will make it easier on everyone, according to Pistole: “Well-informed travelers not only help themselves, but everybody else who may be in line behind them,” he said.

But just in case those lines don’t move more quickly, airlines and airports are advising Thanksgiving travelers to get to the airport from 30 minutes to a full hour earlier than you normally would.

On Pistole’s holiday wish list? Exactly what you’d expect. “A safe and secure holiday season,” he said.

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Published: November 23, 2011