Extra help at security checkpoints

I’ve been doing a fair bit of traveling to conferences and other presentations this month. All of the events have been close by, so someone could drive us, or my Seeing Eye dog Whitney and I could get there by train.

Whitney and I will be taking a couple flights later this month, though, and when I did a little research to see if the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) had any helpful tips about getting help at airport checkpoints, I got word about a Passenger Support Specialists Program.

Passenger Support Specialists are Transportation Security Officers, Lead TSOs and Supervisors who, in addition to their regular checkpoint duties, have volunteered to take on the extra responsibility of helping passengers like me who may be in need of special assistance. From the Transportation Security Administration web site:

More than 2,600 Passenger Support Specialists at airports across the country assist passengers who require additional assistance with security checkpoint screening.

Passenger Support Specialists receive specialized disability training provided by TSA’s Office of Civil Rights and Liberties, Ombudsman and Traveler Engagement. Training for Passenger Support Specialists include how to assist with individuals with special needs, how to communicate with passengers by listening and explaining, and disability etiquette and disability civil rights.

The site said that travelers who need special accommodations or are concerned about checkpoint screening can ask a checkpoint officer or supervisor for a Passenger Support Specialist to provide on-the-spot assistance. Travelers can request a Passenger Support specialist ahead of time, too, by calling the TSA Cares hotline at 855.787.2227. TSA recommends you call approximately 72 hours ahead of travel to give TSA Cares a chance to coordinate checkpoint support with a TSA Customer Service Manager at the airport if necessary. I may just give this a try. Experience has shown me that you can never get enough help when it comes to navigating O’Hare Airport!


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  1. Carl Says:

    I remember reading you have a talking iPhone. You might want to visit TSA’s mobile site. I am blind and find it very helpful when traveling.