Spring Break is next week for UNC Charlotte, Davidson College, Queens College of Charlotte and countless other universities in the eastern half of the country. Highways and airports will be busier all through the week.
That’s assuming all those young scholars are headed to a beach.
The Transportation Security Administration is predicting 62 million travelers will pack the nation’s airports in March, many of them students on Spring Break.
“As we approach the Spring Break travel period, security remains our top priority, and we are taking every measure, both seen and unseen, to protect the millions of air travelers,” said TSA Acting Administrator Huban A. Gowadia.
“TSA continues to work closely in partnership with industry stakeholders to improve the traveling experience, while keeping every traveler safe.”
For students in the Carolinas, the options are plentiful and close. It’s a couple of hours drive to beaches in North and South Carolina, while the beaches of Florida are just a short two hour plane flight away.
TSA says travelers can simplify their travel experience by with these tips:
- Arrive early. Consider adding time in your travel plans for traffic, parking, rental car returns and airline check-in. Arrive up to two hours in advance of your flight departure time for domestic travel and three hours for international flights.
- Apply for a trusted traveler program, such as TSA Pre✓®, Global Entry, NEXUS, or SENTRI. These programs help improve security and provide an easier, more convenient travel experience, by affording travelers access to TSA Pre✓® lanes. For travelers using the TSA Pre✓® lane, there is no need to remove shoes, laptops, liquids, belts and light jackets at more than 180 U.S. airports when traveling on 30 participating airlines.
- Tweet or Message AskTSA. Issues receiving TSA Pre✓® on your boarding pass? Unsure if an item is allowed through security? Get live assistance by tweeting your questions and comments to @AskTSA or via Facebook Messenger, weekdays, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and weekends/holidays, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. You can also reach the Contact Center at 866-289-9673.
- Know the TSA Pre✓® lane hours. For TSA Pre✓® members, a new web feature lists the operating hours for the TSA Pre✓® lanes at 26 largest airports. Travelers can enter their airport, day of week and time of day of travel, and the tool will return the availability of a dedicated TSA Pre✓® lane(s).
- Prepare for security. Have a valid ID and boarding pass readily available, and remove large electronics, including laptops and liquids bag from carry-on baggage. Avoid over packing your carry-on bag. Consider checking bags when feasible.
- Follow the liquids rule. Liquids, gels, aerosols, creams and pastes must be 3.4 ounces or less and all containers must fit inside a single quart-size plastic bag and be placed in a bin for carry-on baggage screening. This includes sun block and tanning lotions.
- Call TSA Cares. Travelers or families of passengers with disabilities and/or medical conditions may call the TSA Cares helpline toll free at 855-787-2227 at least 72 hours prior to flying with any questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint as well as arrange for assistance at the checkpoint.