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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Spring break is underway for millions of schools across the country. Experts say that because of the COVID-19 vaccines, many more people are planning to travel this year.

For many, the pandemic means it’s been months since they’ve been to the airport or on an airplane. That means the airport you remember may look and operate differently than you remember.

Masks Required

Masks are still required throughout airports and on airplanes. The requirement will remain in effect until at least May 11, 2021. That includes while you’re at TSA airport screening checkpoints, security and in secure areas.

As you proceed through security, the officer at the Travel Document Checker will ask that you temporarily lower your mask to verify your identity.

Passengers who refuse to wear a mask will not be permitted to enter the secure area of the airport, which includes the terminal and gate area. Anyone who refuses to wear a mask may also face a fine of up to $1,500.

Updated Screening Process

  • Social distancing among travelers in the checkpoint line and among TSA officers. 
  • ID verification without physical contact between the TSA officer and the traveler.
  • Plastic shielding installed at various locations throughout the TSA checkpoint.
  • Increased cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched checkpoint surfaces and screening equipment, including bins.
  • All TSA officers wearing masks and gloves at the checkpoint, and they may be wearing eye protection or clear plastic face shields, depending on location.
  • TSA officers changing gloves after each pat-down and at the request of any passenger.

Larger Hand Sanitizer Allowed

One of the biggest changes is that TSA allows each passenger one 12 ounce bottle of liquid hand sanitizer in their carry-on bags. You will need to remove the bottle from your bag before screening. All other liquid must be in containers that are 3.4 ounces or less.

Expired Driver’s License

If your driver’s license or state ID expired on or after March 1, 2020, and you can’t renew it at your state driver’s license agency, don’t worry. TSA says it will accept the ID at the checkpoint for a year after it expired.

Arrive Earlier

TSA recommends arriving earlier than normal to catch your flight. Social distancing could mean lines seem longer and you may need additional time to get through security.

Many airlines and airports are providing specific COVID-19 and spring break guidance. Contact the airport or airline directly if you have a specific question.

TSA Tracks Confirmed COVID-19 Cases Among Employees

TSA also keeps track of the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases among employees at airports across the U.S. The information in the chart will let you know the last date of a confirmed case as well as the total number of cases at each airport you travel through. It will also show you the number of screening officers who test positive.