BATON ROUGE – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is ready for the continued surge in travelers at Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport (BTR) and across the country. Acrylic barriers and upgraded technology now reduce or eliminate physical contact between passengers and TSA staff.
But as you prepare to fly after what could be a year or more for many, the TSA offers serious tips for navigating the airport checkpoint. The first is to leave your gun at home or declare it to the airline and place it in a locked, hard-sided case in your checked baggage! Last week a 38-year-old man brought a loaded Ruger to the BTR checkpoint and now faces a fine from the TSA that could exceed $13,000.
“The health and safety of our workforce and the traveling public remain our critical mission,” said Arden Hudson, Federal Security Director with the Transportation Security Administration for the State of Louisiana. “In addition to new technology, the TSA has installed acrylic barriers to separate passengers and TSA officers at strategic locations in the checkpoint at BTR.”
The TSA and Baton Rouge airport leadership previously announced the latest checkpoint technology – CT 300s – and have now added additional equipment to reduce touchpoints – CATs or credential authentication technology. The CTs or computed tomography equipment uses complex algorithms to search for threats, allows TSA officers to rotate the images, reduces the need to open bags and thus reduces touchpoints. Passengers screened in the lanes with this new equipment do not need to remove their 3-1-1 bag or their electronics.
Baton Rouge has also received the latest credential authentication technology, which also allows for fewer touch points. Passengers are separated from TSA officers by acrylic barriers and then only need to pass to them their ID or passport. Boarding passes are not needed at the checkpoint. The equipment verifies passengers’ identity and confirms that they are flying that day.
“We appreciate that TSA has provided BTR with the latest technology and safety measures for our community,” said Mike Edwards, Director of Aviation at Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport.
Face masks for both employees and passengers are required throughout all domestic transportation modes, including airport security screening checkpoints and throughout the airport. Since the implementation of the federal face mask mandate for travelers on Feb 2, masks are required regardless of any local or state easing of restrictions. Those who refuse to wear a mask face fines from the TSA and from the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) if the infraction occurs while flying. The TSA continues to work closely with all transportation partners to enable the highest security standards within a travel environment that helps reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Travelers should follow these six tips for getting through the TSA checkpoint as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Tip 1: Wear a face mask. You must. The federal requirement supports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Emergency Order mandating face masks be worn on all public conveyances and at stations, ports, or similar transportation hubs regardless of state and local laws.
Tip 2: Leave prohibited items at home. To reduce the likelihood of physical contact with TSA officers at the checkpoint, verify if items are prohibited by using the “What Can I Bring?” page on TSA.gov.
Tip 3: Prepare for the security checkpoint. Have a valid ID card readily available. Follow the liquids rule of 3.4 ounces or less, with the exception of hand sanitizer, which has a temporary 12-ounce limit in carry-on baggage.
Tip 4: No guns at checkpoints ever. Airline passengers can fly with firearms only in checked baggage. All firearms must be properly packed and declared at check-in. Contact your airline for additional guidance. And know what the laws are on both sides of your trip.
Tip 5: Help is always available. Get live assistance by tweeting your questions and comments to @AskTSA or via Facebook Messenger, weekdays from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST and weekends/holidays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST. You can also call the TSA Contact Center at 866-289-9673.
Tip 6: Enroll now in TSA PreCheck®. “Travel with Ease” by enrolling in TSA PreCheck and avoid removing shoes, belts, liquids, food, laptops and light jackets. Most new enrollees receive a known traveler number within five days, and membership lasts for five years.
TSA is committed to supporting a healthy and secure environment for our employees, airport personnel and airline passengers. For additional information about TSA procedures during COVID-19 as part of our “Stay Healthy. Stay Secure” campaign, visit tsa.gov/coronavirus.