Transportation Security Administration Programs for Travelers with Disabilities
By Guest Blogger Susan Buckland, Senior Policy Advisor,Transportation Security Administration (TSA) U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
The Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) mission is to protect our nation’s transportation systems so that we all can travel safely. TSA Security Officers work to protect and screen approximately two million travelers each day.
All travelers are required to undergo screening, but TSA has developed screening procedures to ensure that travelers and their associated medical items and devices can be screened regardless of the disability or medical condition. How this screening is conducted depends on the traveler’s disability or medical condition, the technology in use at the checkpoint, and the needs communicated to TSA personnel by the traveler.
TSA Cares is a helpline for travelers with disabilities or medical conditions who want to prepare for the screening process prior to flying. Travelers or their companions may call TSA Cares toll free at 1-855-787-2227 or Federal Relay 711 or e-mail TSA-ContactCenter@tsa.dhs.gov. The hours of operation for the TSA Cares helpline are 8 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. ET from Monday to Friday and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET on weekends and holidays.
When a traveler with a disability or medical condition calls TSA Cares, a specially trained representative provides information about screening that is relevant to the travelers’ specific disability or medical condition. Information is also provided in writing by email, on request of the caller.
Passenger Support Specialists
By contacting TSA Cares, travelers may also request the assistance of a Passenger Support Specialist (PSS) for security screening. The Passenger Support Specialists assist travelers, address traveler-related screening concerns and provide in-person on the spot assistance to travelers requesting assistance in order to enhance the traveler experience, and maintain efficiency in carrying out TSA’s mission.
TSA recommends that passengers call no less than 72 hours ahead of travel so that TSA Cares has the opportunity to coordinate checkpoint support with TSA personnel located at the airport when necessary. Each airport has different resources; therefore, the level of assistance received at the checkpoint can vary. Some airports have an individual who will call the traveler to gather additional information and arrange a meeting time and place. Other locations notify the checkpoint manager of the traveler’s itinerary, but no pre-contact is made. Travelers also may ask for the assistance of a Supervisory TSA Officer or PSS while at the checkpoint, and without contacting TSA Cares in advance.
Visit our web site at www.tsa.gov with general inquiries and questions. For information about what to expect as a traveler with a disability or medical condition, visitwww.tsa.gov/travel/special-procedures. You also may contact us through the TSA Contact Center (TCC) by email at TSA-ContactCenter@tsa.dhs.gov, or by phone at 866-289-9673 or Federal Relay 711. The TCC’s web page is found atwww.tsa.gov/contact-us. For more information about passengers’ civil rights and liberties in the security screening process, or to file a discrimination complaint, go towww.tsa.gov/traveler-information/civil-rights-travelers.