‘Tis the season for holiday travel, and many Beverly residents plan on traveling by plane to visit family and friends this year. Airport security can be challenging even under the most optimal circumstances, but this time of year, the process of being screened and having your carry-on x-rayed can be more tedious than ever. If you are planning on traveling with one or more prosthetic devices for the first time this year, you might not be sure what to expect when you arrive at your airport’s security checkpoint. Let’s take a quick look at some helpful information on how to make your screening process as easy as possible. Questions? Contact Cornell Orthotics & Prosthetics today!

What To Expect at Airport Security

Thankfully, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) provides clear, helpful information for passengers who have disabilities and medical conditions.

When You Arrive

Things can be a little crazy when you first arrive in the security line. Once you reach the TSA podium for your respective line, inform the TSA officer that you have a prosthetic. If you believe you will need assistance with the screening process, you can request that now. You can choose to describe your medical condition verbally to the TSA agent, or you may give the agent a TSA notification card that provides pertinent details regarding your condition and prosthetic. The card also has TSA contact information on it, allowing you to call ahead of time to have any questions or concerns addressed and request a Passenger Support Specialist (PSS).

During Screening

Procedures may vary depending on which type of screening process you are eligible for, and it is important to know this information before you arrive at the airport.

Standard Lanes

In these lanes, you may be screened by advanced imaging technology, or you may be patted down. You may also have the option to be screened by a special metal detector under certain circumstance. Prosthetic devices are subject to additional screening procedures, which may include a visual inspection. Although you have the option to do so voluntarily for x-ray screening, you do not have to remove your prosthetic. If a visual inspection is necessary, you can always request a private screening. You may bring your travel companion or anyone else you choose to this private screening once they have gone through screening themselves.

TSA Pre✓® Lanes

Passengers who are eligible to go through the TSA Pre✓ Lanes have the option of being screened by advanced imaging technology, a walk-through metal detector, or they may submit to a pat-down. Unlike standard-lane screening, you do not need to meet certain qualifications to be eligible for the metal detector screening. If your prosthetic sets off any alarms during the screening process, then you will have to pat down the device and submit to additional screening procedures. There are alternative screening processes available for passengers who are unable to complete a self-pat down of your device. If a TSA agent must perform a pat-down screening, this will be completed by someone of the same gender. Of course, private screenings are always an option for TSA Pre✓ Lanes as they are with standard lanes.

Important Points to Remember

Regardless of whether you will be going through the standard screening lanes or the TSA Pre✓ Lanes, there are a few key points to remember from today’s article:

  • You do not have to remove your shoes if you are disabled or have a medical condition, however, additional screening of your shoes will be needed, and you can request to sit down during this screening.
  • You are not required to remove your prosthetic during the screening process.
  • TSA agents need to see and touch prosthetic devices during the screening process.
  • If you refuse a private screening, the screening will be conducted publicly. No one can refuse the screening process, whether private or public.
  • You can request a paper drape for privacy during the screening process.
  • TSA agents may perform explosive trace detection (ETD) sampling of your prosthetic devices and hands to test for explosives during the screening process.
  • If the TSA agent cannot resolve alarms detected during the ETD screening, you will not be allowed to proceed past the security checkpoint.

Beverly Orthotics & Prosthetic Provider

Are you feeling nervous about traveling with your prosthetic devices for the first time this holiday season? If so, Cornell Orthotics & Prosthetics is here to help calm your nerves. As your local orthotic and prosthetic company in Beverly, we are happy to speak with you about your prosthetic devices and what you can expect when you arrive at the security checkpoint at the airport. This will enable you to proceed through the security checkpoint quickly and easily without having to worry about unnecessary delays because of your devices. Give us a call at 978-922-2866 today — we look forward to speaking with you!