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TSA: end-of-the-year holiday travel to be near pre-pandemic levels

San Diego International Airport
Posted at 6:16 PM, Dec 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-17 21:17:10-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Despite a rise in omicron COVID cases, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) expects end-of-the-year holiday travel to be 90% of 2019 pre-pandemic levels.

TSA anticipates security checkpoints at the San Diego International Airport and nationwide to be busy starting Friday, Dec. 17 through Monday, Jan. 3, 2022.

"There will be times during the day when it will feel like there is no pandemic," Lorie Dankers, TSA Spokeswoman, said.

The busiest times for travel will be 5 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Dankers said TSA will be fully-staffed and is prepared to handle the influx.

"We're looking at 29 to 30,000 people per day departing from San Diego International," Dankers said.

Dankers said TSA officers are still required to wear masks and gloves, but you can ask them to change their gloves if they're going to touch your belongings or if you need a pat-down.

Travelers must also wear a mask. If you refuse, TSA officers will not screen you, and you won't be able to fly.

"There are incidents where travelers have become abusive to our TSA officers. I ask people to remember they're just doing their job," Dankers said.

Dankers suggests checking the TSA website while packing on what kind of food and other items are allowed in your carry-on luggage.

"We saw a lot of these self-defense pepper sprays. Once again, that's not allowed in your carry-on luggage," she said.

If you're traveling with gifts, Dankers said to make sure they're unwrapped or in a gift bag in case agents need to take a closer look at them.

Lastly, she reminds people to be patient and kind as TSA officers work to make sure travelers have a safe journey for the holidays.

"Allow a lot of time, arrive early and prepared, and you'll have a better travel experience," Danker said.