Tips for Musicians Travelling through TSA Automated Lanes (February 15, 2017)

The Transportation Security Administration is using a new automated bin system at Newark, Chicago O’Hare, Los Angeles, and Atlanta airports. We spoke with officials at TSA headquarters and received the following tips for musicians that hand carry their instruments when flying by air:

  • Musical instruments may be screened through both TSA Pre® and regular TSA lanes that use the new automated bin system.
  • Each checkpoint (both TSA Pre® and regular) will continue to have a non-automated conveyor belt screening lane, without the bins.
  • If your musical instrument exceeds the size of the bins and fits through the standard conveyor belt x-ray machine, ask to be directed to that lane.
  • If your musical instrument exceeds the size of the  conveyor belt x-ray machine, request hand-screening.

Newark airport will be consolidating its lane locations in March 2017, which will make it easier to find the non-automated lanes. TSA is updating signage, direction, and coordination between TSA and airport employees on the automated lane procedures before the passenger enters the queue.

TSA is also keeping in mind the needs of musicians and other passengers with oversized items as the automated bin procedures are implemented on a larger scale, and is reviewing its online guidance for musicians for any needed updates. We will keep you posted as further information becomes available.