NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- The Transportation Security Administration is predicting a record number of passengers will be screened at Charleston International Airport (CHS) this summer.
Since the start of the year, TSA has screened more than 1.1 million travelers departing from Charleston, an approximately 10% month-over-month increase from 2019. 2019 was the highest year on record for the number of passengers traveling through CHS.
TSA announced Wednesday that the agency added national staff members to aid local Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) during the summer months.
“TSA is committed to providing first class security coupled with a touch of southern hospitality for travelers departing CHS,” TSA Federal Security Director for South Carolina David McMahon said. “We will make sure that we have the appropriate staffing in place to meet the peak times at the security checkpoint.”
McMahon encourages passengers to use the 3-2-1 rule when departing Charleston– three hours prior to flight, check out of the hotel; two hours prior to flight, complete check-in with the airline; one hour prior to flight, be through the checkpoint.
He said following the 3-2-1 rule will be especially helpful on the busiest travel days: Sunday, Monday, Thursday, and Friday. The busiest times at CHS checkpoints are 4 a.m. to 7 a.m., 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
“This will ensure you make your flight and allow ample time to have a more relaxing, less stressful time at the airport,” McMahon said.
Recent data indicates that 80% of travelers departing CHS waited 15 minutes or less to be screened, but TSA notes there may be times during the day when the number of passengers waiting to be screened exceeds the capacity of checkpoints. To combat this, TSA administrative and other non-certified staff will be assisting with non-security-related functions.
TSA provided the following tips to ensure efficiency at CHS:
- Listen for guidance from TSA officers
- Empty your pockets prior to arriving in the checkpoint
- Follow the rule for traveling with liquids
- Pack smart
- Double-check your luggage for firearms if you are a concealed carry permit holder
- Give yourself plenty of time at the airport
Passengers who want to enroll in TSAPreCheck can visit the enrollment center at 1485 N. Highway 17 in Mount Plesant Tuesday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. or contact the Universal Enrollment Call Center at 1-855-347-8371.