Inside TSA's summer travel security

The TSA expects the number of passengers going through MSP to rise above 40,000 on 31 days this summer. kare11.tv/2u730lo

MINNEAPOLIS - The Transportation Security Administration expects the number of passengers going through MSP to rise above 40,000 on 31 days this summer.

To put that into perspective, only six days last summer had that volume.

That’s a lot of people to keep safe during an unprecedented summer travel season. 

But there are layers of security in place that you don’t see when you travel through the airport – starting the moment you book your reservation. Your name and information is run through a system called "Secure Flight," and vetted against the terrorist watch list.

Lorie Dankers, a spokesperson with TSA, says that list is maintained by the FBI.

"So if somebody is on a terrorist watch list, they can purchase a ticket," she said. "However, they will not be allowed to print a boarding pass."

So what if you have a common name and end up on the list? The Department of Homeland Security has a way to help.

"There is a unique number assigned to you, so when you book your ticket next time you will include that information so they will know who you are to allow you to fly," she said.

On travel day, chances are you'll see a bomb-sniffing dog at the airport, screening travelers for explosives. But what you won't see is the work being done in MSP's explosives lab, where passengers aren't allowed.

"Explosives are still the biggest threat to aviation security," said Transportation Security Specialist Explosives Kyle Johnstone.

Last year alone, 2,000 items were flagged – including guns.

While you're getting screened, so is your baggage. Once the airline employee puts it on the conveyor belt, it goes through an explosive detection system, which quickly captures an image to determine whether the bag contains any type of threat.

Nationwide, less than 5 percent of checked bags need a physical inspection. Those inspections are recorded on camera.

You and your baggage aren't the only things being screened. All employees who work beyond airport checkpoints are screened as well.

"So even though they have access to the airport, we still check their ID-verification and we screen their property before they come in," said Kalie Kern, TSA supervisor.

With summer travel sizzling to an all-new high, TSA says it's their job to make sure everyone feels safe and confident when traveling.

"I like to always say that security is seen and unseen and it's the unseen parts that are working to ensure the system is safe," Dankers said.

© 2017 KARE-TV


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