TSA Installing Acrylic Shields at PHL Checkpoints

In its ongoing efforts to put in place initiatives to help stop the spread of COVID-19, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is in the process of installing new acrylic barriers at security checkpoints at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL).

The protective barriers are being set up in areas where TSA officers typically interact with passengers including the travel document checking podium and the divesting area where travelers prepare their carry-on items for X-ray screening. 

According to Gerardo Spero, TSA Federal Security Director at PHL, the new shields are being mounted to help lessen “the likelihood of cross contamination among travelers and employees. These shields offer our workforce and the public an additional layer of protection to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus.”

TSA recently awarded a contract to purchase and install 1,230 acrylic barriers at 37 priority airports nationwide.

The acrylic barriers are the latest measures TSA has put in place at PHL recently to enhance safety and security. In September, the agency installed five new state-of-the-art advanced technology computed tomography checkpoint scanners. The devices, which are in use at the A-D-E (2) and B checkpoints (2 were also set up at A-East checkpoint which has since closed until further notice), provide 3-D imaging that allows officers to better determine whether an item inside a carry-on bag is a possible security threat. The TSA also uses the technology in its screening of checked baggage.

The 3-D imagery lets TSA officers manipulate the image on screen to get a better view of a bag’s contents and often allows the officers to clear items without having to open a carry-on bag. In addition to providing an improved security threat detection capability at the checkpoint, the technology also reduces the need to pull aside a bag to be inspected, thereby cutting down “touchpoints during the pandemic,” according to the TSA.

Earlier in the summer, TSA began using Credential Authentication Technology (CAT) that validates a traveler’s identification and confirms their flight information in real-time.

“The TSA is a valued partner in our continuing efforts to offer a safe and secure experience for travelers,” said PHL COO Keith Brune. “All of the steps TSA has taken to improve the safety and well-being of our entire airport community are appreciated.”

TSA continues to promote its “Stay Healthy. Stay Secure.” campaign designed to advise travelers of airport checkpoint modifications and procedures designed to contain the spread of COVID-19. These include social distancing, reduced physical contact between travelers and TSA officers during the screening process, use of personal protective equipment by TSA officers, and extra cleaning and disinfecting in the security checkpoint.

Likewise, PHL has worked diligently to create a clean, safe and comfortable environment for travelers and employees. To find out more about the airport’s efforts visit the PHL COVID19 News page. Travelers are reminded to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) travel guidance as well as local and state advisories regarding COVID-19.




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Heather Redfern
Public Affairs Manager
Shawn Hawes
Public Information Officer

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