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Tucson International Airport Tucson Airport Authority Ryan Airfield

Security (TSA)

Construction Update: A new TSA Security Checkpoint for Concourse B is open as of April 18.  For passengers departing on Alaska, American and Delta airlines the entrance to the new checkpoint is at the far west end of the terminal on the ticketing level.

The Transportation Security Administration checkpoints at Tucson International Airport usually open at least one hour before the first flight of the day on each concourse and remain open until the last flight of the day departs. In most cases, checkpoint waits are less than 15 minutes except during the busiest times, usually early in the morning before 8 a.m. and mid-day from about 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. most of the year. (Please note: Tucson and Arizona do not observe Daylight Saving Time and airlines adjust their schedules accordingly. From November until early March when Standard Time is in effect in most of the rest of the United States, the busy times are about an hour later.)

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

TSA Pre-Check

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✓™. The specially designated lanes are to the left of the regular lanes on both concourses. At times when the TSA Pre✓™ screening equipment is not operational, 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 their 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

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. 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?

In most cases, the TSA wait time is less than 10 minutes. During busy hours it can increase to as much as 20 to 25 minutes. PreCheck expedited screening is usually available during the busiest hours. At times when PreCheck screening is not operational, passengers who qualify for the service can queue in the PreCheck lane and are permitted to wear their shoes as they go through the regular screening process. It’s sort of a PreCheck lite.

What paperwork 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. The Transportation Security Administration has more information about IDs:

http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/acceptable-ids

What do I need for an ID?

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 or read, a regular Arizona Driver License will continue to be an acceptable form of ID for domestic flights until October 1, 2020. If your travel involves an international flight, you must have a valid passport.

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 a Voluntary Travel ID that complies with the federal REAL ID Act. It can be combined as a Driver License. Travelers who wish to obtain the enhanced ID may do so through the Arizona Department of Transportation. The regular Arizona Driver License will continue to be accepted for boarding aircraft until October 1, 2020.  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 License and was given a temporary paper license, can I use it to get through security at the airport?

Yes it can be used, but the TSA may do additional screening. You should give yourself extra time to get through security.

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.

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 a firearm, what should I do?

There are strict guidelines for traveling with firearms. Before coming to the airport, check the TSA website (here) for the rules and regulations regarding transport of firearms. 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.

For passengers flying into Mexico on Aeromar additional regulations apply. Read about those conditions on Aeromar’s website (here). (Scroll about two-thirds of the way down the page to the sections on baggage.)

Any tips for going through security? 

The TSA has compiled a website with traveler information here: http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information.

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 their 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. The most 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 a short walking distance from the main terminal.

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 another without going through security again?

No, the two concourses are not connected beyond the security checkpoints.

I think I left something at the security checkpoint, how do I find out if they’ve got it?

Contact the TSA at (520) 799-9313. This is only for missing items involving TSA, including items missing from checked luggage. The Tucson Airport Authority’s Lost & Found can be reached at (520) 573-8156. Each airline has its own Lost & Found.

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