Hawaii airports ready for record summer travel rush

The Transportation Security Administration and state Department of Transportation are preparing for a record number of travelers to Hawaii this summer, which is expected to surpass 2019 pre-pandemic travel volumes.

During Memorial Day weekend, the official start of summer travel season, Hawaii’s airports screened over 200, 000 travelers over the four-day period, and 113, 000 were screened at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, TSA spokesperson Lorie Dankers said Thursday at a news conference.


“TSA has been planning literally for months for our summer travel plan, ” Dankers said. “We’re happy to report we are fully staffed, which means we’re going to be able to keep lanes open based on passenger projections of the individuals who need to be screened.”

State DOT Director Ed Sniffen said local airports are prepared, but travelers must plan ahead to account for crowds and security processing.

“Your security is just as important as your convenience, ” Sniffen said.

With over 30, 000 travelers passing through security checkpoints in Honolulu every day, Dan ­kers said travelers must come prepared and carefully listen to officers for instructions, which speeds the process. Dankers said security checkpoints with explosive detection K-9s in Honolulu and Maui airports are more efficient, and lines move faster.

“We have several things that travelers will do differently because they have been screened for explosives, so suddenly they’re a lower-risk traveler, ” Dankers said. Some of those things could include not removing shoes or electronics from bags.

Dankers said when and where the K-9s work in the airport are “unpredictable and unannounced, ” so travelers must pay close attention to officers’ instructions.

“If you see a dog working, what you’re going to want to do is head for that checkpoint because it will be a quicker experience for you, ” Dankers said.

Dankers said anyone under 17 years old can now accompany TSA PreCheck-­enrolled guardians through TSA PreCheck screening when traveling on the same reservation and when the indicator appears on their boarding pass. Previously, only children 12 and under were permitted to do so.

“That’s a money-saver for families, and it also helps us with the efficiency of our operations in the TSA PreCheck lanes, ” Dankers said.

Dankers said standard security processing takes at least 30 minutes, and pre-checked processing takes 10 minutes.

At Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, Sniffen said that as part of the “renewed experience for the public, ” U.S. Department of Agriculture inspections of luggage and carry-on items will now be performed outside the terminals, rather than after TSA security checkpoints. The change started Thursday with five new machines to double their capacity of inspection, Sniffen said.

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