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Tucson International Airport Tucson Airport Authority Ryan Airfield

TSA Security

  Construction Update: New TSA Security Checkpoints are now open for both Concourses. For passengers departing on Southwest and United airlines, the entrance to Concourse A is at the east side of the ticketing level. For passengers departing on Alaska, American and Delta airlines, the entrance to Concourse B is at the west end of the terminal. Passengers with boarding passes, not checking bags and who do not otherwise need to check-in at an airline counter, may want to be dropped off directly in front of the entrance to their concourse. The Concourse B entrance is at the first doors as you approach the terminal. The Concourse A entrance is adjacent to the last doors as you leave the terminal area. 


The Transportation Security Administration security checkpoints at Tucson International Airport open by 4 a.m. daily or earlier if flight schedules warrant. They close when the last flight of the day departs. Wait times are usually less than 10 minutes except during busy times early in the morning before 8 a.m. and mid-day from about 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Please note: Tucson does not observe Daylight Saving Time and airlines adjust their schedules accordingly. From November until early March when Standard Time is in effect in the United States, the busy times are an hour later.)

Information regarding the checkpoint process can be found at the Transportation Security Administration’s website.

TSA PreCheck

Specially designated lanes on both the A and B Concourses allow passengers who have been qualified through U.S. Department of Homeland Security programs including TSA Pre✓™, Global Entry, SENTRI and active duty military personnel to use expedited screening. Passengers who qualify for this will have it noted on their boarding pass with a reference to TSA Pre✓™.  At times when the TSA Pre✓™ screening equipment is not being used, qualified passengers will go through the regular screening lanes and be permitted to wear their shoes but will be required to remove laptops and similar devices from carrying cases.

Special Needs

Personnel are prepared to assist passengers using wheelchairs or strollers and their traveling companions, including service animals, through the TSA checkpoints. Passengers being dropped off and needing wheelchair assistance should request that assistance when making their airline reservations. Due to security regulations, the airport cannot permit drivers to leave their vehicles unattended at the curb while assisting passengers into the terminal.

FAQs

What time should I arrive at the airport before my flight?

Arriving 90 minutes ahead of your scheduled departure is usually ample time to check-in, check baggage, get through TSA security and be at your gate 30 minutes ahead of time for boarding. Please arrive earlier if you require assistance. At especially busy times, the recommendation is to arrive 2 hours ahead of departure due to TSA wait times. The airport will post notices on its website and use social media when we anticipate passengers will need to build in extra time.

What time do the TSA security checkpoints open in the morning?

The TSA security checkpoints generally open by 4 a.m. and close when the last flight of the day departs.

My flight leaves at 5 a.m., TSA's hours don't give me enough to make my flight, what do I do?

TSA schedules its checkpoint operating hours based on information from airlines. Few, if any, flights are scheduled to depart before 5 a.m. and only one or two flights are scheduled to depart at 5 so in most cases passengers can go through security beginning at 4 a.m. and be at their gate in time to board the aircraft. In special cases such as holidays where airlines may schedule early departures, the TSA security checkpoint should open at least one hour before the first departure of the morning so if you have a flight that is to depart at 4:30 a.m., the checkpoint for that concourse should be open by 3:30 a.m.

How long does it take to get through TSA security?

Waiting to go through security usually takes the most time. In most cases, waits are less than 10 minutes at Tucson International Airport but during busy hours it can increase to as much as 20 to 25 minutes. Going through security is often a quick process. Don’t be alarmed, though, if you are selected for further screening. Sometimes it’s merely a random selection that shouldn’t take too much time.

What paperwork/ID do I need for security?

All passengers must have a boarding pass and adult passengers ages 18 and older must use a current photo identification issued by a federal or state government agency. Despite what you may have heard, a regular Arizona Driver License will continue to be an accepted form of ID for travel until October 1, 2020. The Transportation Security Administration has more information about IDs: http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/acceptable-ids

What about Arizona’s REAL ID?

Arizona has developed an optional Voluntary Travel ID that complies with the federal REAL ID Act so it is an acceptable ID for boarding an aircraft now and will continue to be as of October 1, 2020, when the regular Arizona Driver License will no longer be acceptable. The Voluntary Travel ID can be combined and also used as a driver’s license. Travelers who wish to obtain this enhanced ID may do so through the Arizona Department of Transportation. More information on the Voluntary Travel ID is here: https://azdot.gov/mvd/driver-services/arizona-voluntary-travel-id/overview.

I just got my driver's license and was given a temporary paper license, can I use it to get through security at the airport?

It would be better if you have another acceptable photo ID but if not it can be used. Allow extra time for security screening.

What about IDs for children? 

IDs are not usually required for children under 18 but make certain the airline is aware of any children flying. An airline may have additional requirements, especially if the child is traveling unaccompanied.

I'm scared I'm going to make a mistake going through security, what advice do you have?

It may be hectic but don’t be scared. Airport security is intended for your safety. It might help you to know the most common mistakes people make when going through airport security are:

  • Not emptying pockets of everything .. even that last penny.
  • Bringing a bottle of water or other liquid through security.
  • Leaving a laptop in its carrying case.

One more thing for families or groups: Keep each person’s boarding pass and ID separate. Handing a TSA agent a group of boarding passes and IDs slows the process.

 

What is this about “enhanced” pat-downs?

The TSA has started using a standardized procedure for pat-downs that it describes as its highest-level of pat-down. Previously, screeners could choose from various styles of pat-down searches, some of which were less invasive.  At Tucson International Airport, the Tucson Airport Authority has made private screening rooms available to the TSA for passengers who request them. Information about the TSA’s pat-down screening is here.

May I bring ____(blank)_____ through security?

The TSA has answers here: http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/prohibited-items.

I am planning to travel with my gun, what should I do?

There are strict guidelines for traveling with firearms and ammunition. They can only be accepted as checked baggage, not as a carry-on. Before coming to the airport, read the rules and regulations regarding the transport of firearms on the TSA website (here). Be aware that although cases must be locked, you are required to declare you are carrying a firearm each time you present it for travel and you must be prepared to open the case for TSA, law enforcement and/or airline personnel.

 

Is there such a thing as expedited airport security? 

Yes. The Transportation Security Administration’s PreCheck program permits pre-qualified passengers to go through the screening process without removing their shoes or belts or taking  laptops out of carry-on bags. To qualify for PreCheck, passengers must be enrolled in one of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Trusted Traveler programs.

How do I qualify for TSA PreCheck?

Trusted Traveler programs run by U.S. Customs and Border Protection include the ability to use TSA PreCheck. A popular program for airline travelers is Global Entry, which has an application fee of $100. Applicants should first enroll, apply and pay the fee online at http://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs. After receiving conditional approval, applicants may then schedule an interview at the Enrollment Center conveniently located at Tucson International Airport at 7150 S. Tucson Blvd., which is immediately west and walking distance from the main terminal.

It's frustrating, I paid for PreCheck and qualify for it but it is not open, why?

Ideally TSA would like to have PreCheck open as much as possible because it can be more efficient. The PreCheck process is different from standard screening and requires separate  staffing. At slower times of the day, it’s not practical to staff PreCheck screening. At those times, passengers who qualify for the service can queue in the PreCheck lane and then go through the regular screening process but leave on their shoes and belts. You will have to take your laptop out of its carrying case, however. It’s sort of a PreCheck “lite.” The TSA says that as more passengers qualify for PreCheck it will be able to extend the hours.

 

If I’m not traveling, can I take a child or someone needing additional help through security? 

Airlines can issue a gate pass for these circumstances. The escort must show a valid government-issued photo ID. Allow extra time to get the pass. It’s also a good idea to alert the airline ahead of time.

Is there a way to go from one concourse to the other without going through security again?

No, the two concourses at Tucson International Airport are not connected beyond the security checkpoints.

How do I find out if TSA has something I lost?

For items that may have been left at the checkpoint or for something you believe is missing from checked luggage, contact the TSA at (520) 799-9313. Lost and Found information for the airport and airlines is here.

I have a question that wasn't answered here, where can I find more?

The TSA has answers to more FAQs here.

 

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Tucson International Airport
7250 South Tucson Boulevard
Tucson, AZ 85756
(520) 573-8100