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TSA warns that long lines are likely as holiday travel picks up

Posted at 7:37 PM, Nov 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-21 19:37:20-05

INDIANAPOLIS – According to AAA, 4.5 million Americans will fly to their Thanksgiving destinations this year. TSA at Indianapolis International Airport wants travelers to be prepared for long lines.

TSA can check around 150 people an hour through normal lines and about 225 people an hour through TSA pre-check. However, there are certain items that if you bring with you, you could be holding up the line to your fellow travelers.

"Liquids in excess of 3.4 ounces or greater need to go in your checked luggage,” Aaron Batt, the TSA Federal Security Director for Indiana said. “The majority of bag searches are related to bringing liquids."

While many travelers are in vacation mode and not concerned over flight delays, it's crunch time for TSA employees. They are expecting around 16,500 passengers to pass through their checkpoints on the busiest travel day, the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

"We will be covering that with overtime some additional hours for our part-time staff. We will be utilizing our k-9 teams to their maximum availability as well,” Batt said.

Donna is one of a handful of explosive detection dogs that patrol the airport. Her skills will be heavily relied on during the holiday rush.

"We start our day by coming in and screening passengers and property at the checkpoint during the heavy and frequent hours and then from there we go to we have a variety of locations and areas that we will spend our time at, " Jan Simons, a K9 Handler at the Indianapolis International Airport said.

TSA has seen about 91% of passenger traffic return since the pandemic. It tries to get travelers through security in 20 minutes or less. But like many industries, TSA is short-staffed. They currently have 20 open positions at the Indianapolis airport.

However, TSA says it won't hinder wait times. TSA officials say that one way to save time is by registering for TSA precheck.

"TSA pre-check up until a few weeks ago was $85; now it's $78 dollars just in time for the holidays,” Batt said. “You can go enroll at many enrollment centers around the state we have one here in Indianapolis at the airport."

If you were hoping to have TSA pre-check for your Thanksgiving travels, it is a little bit late for that it takes a couple of weeks to get those credentials. For details on what you can and can’t bring on your carry on click here. To learn how to register for TSA precheck click here.