TSA to Change PIT Screening Lanes to Reduce Wait Times

Amid record-breaking air travel, PreCheck passengers will use alternate checkpoint during peak travel times

By Evan Dougherty

Published July 1, 2024

Read Time: 3 mins


Beginning the morning of July 8, travelers with TSA PreCheck will be directed to the alternate security checkpoint at Pittsburgh International Airport to reduce long lines and wait times.

The alternate checkpoint, which is accessed via the Landside ticketing level, will serve TSA PreCheck passengers only between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m. Monday through Friday, according to the Transportation Security Administration. PreCheck lanes at the main checkpoint will not be open during this time.

After 7 a.m., Monday-Friday and all day on weekends, TSA PreCheck passengers can use either checkpoint.

Signs in the terminal will inform travelers of the change and direct them to the right checkpoint.

CLEAR passengers, including those with TSA PreCheck, should still use the CLEAR lane at the main security checkpoint.

PIT advises travelers, particularly for flights departing between 5 and 8 a.m., to arrive between 2 to 3 hours before their flight’s scheduled departure time.

An interactive map that includes wayfinding to the main and alternate security checkpoints can be viewed at FlyPittsburgh.com.

Summer surge

The changes come amid a major surge in air travel. More travelers than ever are passing through security screening checkpoints at airports nationwide, including at PIT.

On Sunday, June 23, TSA screened 2.99 million passengers at airport security checkpoints nationwide, the highest daily total in the agency’s history.

Meanwhile, PIT saw nearly 20,000 daily passengers pass through security checkpoints on Monday, June 24. It was the highest daily total ever for PIT since the airport began tallying passenger throughput data in 2019.

Passengers wait to board a Delta flight from PIT’s Concourse D on June 24, 2024. (Photo by Beth Hollerich)


And with a busy Fourth of July travel period looming, those records aren’t expected to hold for long. In a release from TSA, the agency expects to screen more than 32 million individuals across the country between Thursday, June 27, and Monday, July 8, a 5.4 percent year-over-year increase in Independence Day holiday travel volumes.

“We expect this summer to be our busiest ever and summer travel usually peaks over the Independence Day holiday,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske in a statement. “We are ready, along with our airline and airport partners, to handle this boost in passenger volumes.”

In Pittsburgh, airlines are responding to high travel demand by adding additional capacity through more flights and larger aircraft. At least five carriers serving PIT —American Airlines, Breeze Airways, Frontier Airlines, Southwest Airlines and Spirit Airlines— will each break their records for the most scheduled seats to and from PIT offered in a single month.

RELATED: Airlines to Break Records at PIT this Summer

Along with added flights, new routes began in May and June: Frontier began nonstop service to Philadelphia, Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth and Raleigh-Durham; Spirit launched daily service to Boston, Houston-Intercontinental and New York-LaGuardia; and Breeze and Southwest added nonstop, seasonal service to San Diego.

In May, PIT also welcomed Icelandair with nonstop, seasonal service to Reykjavik, Iceland, its second nonstop transatlantic destination alongside British Airways’ six times weekly year-round service to London-Heathrow. With British Airways and Icelandair combined, Pittsburgh is connected to Europe with a daily schedule of flights for the first time since 2018.

Seasonal routes on Allegiant Air and Sun Country Airlines have also resumed at PIT.

In May, Air Canada resumed daily service to Montreal, United Airlines added a third daily flight to Denver and Alaska Airlines upped nonstop service to Seattle to twice-daily flights.

A faster checkpoint

PIT’s new terminal, scheduled to open to the public next year, will include an all-new security screening checkpoint that will be more efficient, more passenger-friendly and reduce wait times for travelers.

The airport’s current main security checkpoint in the Landside Terminal opened in 1992 before the existence of modern security protocols. The checkpoint also dates back to when PIT served as a connecting hub for US Airways, when the majority of the airport’s passengers transited within the current Airside Terminal flight-to-flight rather than through the main Landside checkpoint.

Today, PIT now serves as an origin-and-destination airport with most of its passengers starting and ending their trips in Pittsburgh. And now, more passengers than ever are passing through the airport’s screening checkpoints.

The new terminal will feature a wider, more spacious screening checkpoint. In addition, the new terminal will not only offer TSA PreCheck and CLEAR but also introduce the latest airport technology, including updated scanners that will further expedite screening.

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