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San Antonio International Airport packed as people begin Spring Break travels

Brett Sayles | Pexels

The Transportation Security Administration is touting relatively new security measures at San Antonio International during the busy Spring Break travel period.

Regional TSA spokeswoman Patty Mancha said that processing is made faster with new 3D scanners for passenger luggage and scanners that verify tickets and I.D.

Security dogs have been at the airport for a while now, but they will be new to those who have not traveled since the pandemic began. Mancha says travelers should not approach them.

"Don't try to pet them, don't try to feed them, they're working. And as much as you want to, please don't distract them. Let them do their work," she said.

Travelers passing through the airport will see a number of COVID-19 protocols in place.

“We continue to work closely with our airport and surface transportation partners to enable the highest security standards within a travel environment that helps reduce the spread of COVID-19,” said TSA Federal Security Director for SAT, Jes Presas.

Officers will be wearing gloves and masks. Travelers will see acrylic shields. TSA officers will change their gloves after every pat-down.

"We ask travelers do to part by ensuring that they do not have any prohibited items with them at the checkpoint, and instead pack some extra patience," Presas added.

Spring break travel tips from the TSA and airport:

Tip 1: Wear a face mask

The federal requirement supports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Emergency Order mandating face masks be worn on all public modes of transportation.

Tip 2: Leave prohibited items at home

To reduce the likelihood of physical contact with TSA officers at the checkpoint by knowing what items cannot get packed in your carry-on bag. Travelers can check for prohibited items by using the “What Can I Bring?” page on TSA.gov and by downloading the free myTSA app, which also has the handy “What Can I Bring?” feature.

Tip 3: Listen for TSA guidance

Listen for the guidance that TSA officers are offering because they could be informing travelers that some checkpoints with new CT units enable passengers to leave electronics in their carry-on bags and checkpoints with new credential authentication units do not require passengers to present a boarding pass. These technologies help reduce touchpoints and make for a more streamlined and convenient passenger experience.

Tip 4: Follow TSA rules

Follow the rule that limits liquids, gels and aerosols to 3.4 ounces or less, with the exception of hand sanitizer, which has a temporary 12-ounce limit in carry-on baggage. Unsure if an item is defined as a liquid, gel or aerosol? If you can spill it, spread it, spray it, pump it or pour it, then it is defined as a liquid, gel or aerosol.

Tip 5: Do not bring your firearm to secutiry

Do not bring your firearm to a security checkpoint. Airline passengers can fly with firearms only in checked baggage. All firearms must be properly packed and declared with your airline at check-in. Contact your airline for additional guidance.

Tip 6: Ask for assistance

Get assistance with your questions by tweeting your questions and comments to @AskTSA or via Facebook Messenger, weekdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST. You can also call the TSA Contact Center at 866-289-9673 from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. EST or 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends and holidays.

Tip 7: Enroll in PreCheck

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.

Tip 8: Empty your pockets

Empty your pockets when you get to the checkpoint and take those items and place them inside your carry-on bag instead of into a bin so that you reduce touch points and you won’t leave anything behind.

Tip 9: Pack food in a clear bag

Pack food in a clear plastic bag. If you plan to travel with food, it’s a best practice to pack your food items in a clear plastic bag and place that clear plastic bag into your carry-on bag. When you get to the security checkpoint, remove the clear bag containing your food and place that bag into the bin to reduce the opportunity for cross-contamination between the food and bins.

Tip 10: Arrive early

Get to the airport early. It’s going to be more crowded than it has been in quite a while with plenty of travelers who are flying for the first time in a very long time. Expect it to be a little more challenging to find parking with lines at rental car counters, airline check-in counters and at the checkpoint. Mancha said passengers on international flights should arrives three hours early or two hours early for domestic flights.

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