Santa Barbara Airport Anticipates High Volume of Travelers This Summer

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Source: Transportation Security Administration (TSA)

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is alerting travelers who have plans to fly out of Santa Barbara Municipal Airport (SBA) in the coming days and weeks, to allow plenty of time for security screening and arrive at the security checkpoint prepared. This advisement is being given because current travel projections for the summer indicate that the number of travelers departing the airport will equal, and likely exceed, volumes seen in 2019, which was one of the busiest on record for TSA operations.

“Santa Barbara is a prime destination for travelers year round, and this summer is no exception. The recent reopening of the country and easing of pandemic restrictions, combined with the public’s desire to travel, has resulted in a significant uptick in the number of people departing SBA,” said TSA Federal Security Director Anita Minaei who oversees TSA operations at SBA. “Because we anticipate that the volume of travelers will remain high throughout the summer, we are asking passengers to arrive at the airport early. Coming prepared will help TSA deliver the most effective security in the most efficient manner.”

National passenger throughput trends over the past few months have shown sustained travel volumes. In the month of April and May, TSA screened at least 1 million departing travelers at airports nationwide every day. That number continued to steadily increase in June when TSA screened more than 2 million travelers on multiple days. Over the five-day, Fourth of July holiday weekend, TSA screened 10.1 million people at airports across the country.

Passenger screening volumes at SBA are currently more than 125% of 2019 volumes, and are expected to increase throughout the summer months. When compared to other airports across the country, SBA’s current recovery rate ranks 16th nationwide.
The busiest times at the TSA security checkpoint at SBA are 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The busiest days to travel are Thursdays and Fridays as well as Sundays and Mondays.

These peaks are driven by the flight departure schedules determined by the airlines. When there is a concentrated number of flight departures over a short period of time, there will be intervals when the number of departing passengers could exceed the capacity of the TSA security checkpoint at SBA.

Additionally, new airlines are providing service out of SBA and legacy airlines have increased the number of departing flights. In addition, some airlines are flying larger aircraft on some routes, increasing the number of travelers who need to be screened during peak times. This is why it is essential that travelers allow plenty of time and arrive prepared to allow for completion of every step of the travel process from curb to gate.

Due to the recovery of air travel, TSA continues to recruit security screening officers to work at SBA and nationwide to ensure checkpoint lanes are fully staffed to screen the ever increasing number of travelers. As an incentive to join the agency, TSA will pay newly-hired security screening officers $500 upon starting with the agency and another $500 after one year of service with TSA. To qualify for the recruitment incentive, the employee must come onboard with TSA between now and September 30, 2021. To view open positions, visit In the “Search TSA jobs” box, enter “TSO” in the search box to the left and “Santa Barbara, CA” in the “location” search box to the right.

To assist with the application and hiring process, TSA will hold a recruitment event on Tuesday, July 20 and Wednesday, July 21 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day. It will be held at the Hilton Santa Barbara located at 633 E. Cabrillo Boulevard in Santa Barbara. No appointment is necessary.

When travelers arrive at the security checkpoint, they can expect to see the following:

• All security officers continuing to wear face masks and gloves during the screening process. Security officers will change their gloves after each screening position rotation, after a pat-down or upon a passenger’s request.

• All travelers wearing a mask in the airport and at TSA airport screening checkpoints. The federal requirement to wear a mask has been extended until September 13, 2021. Face coverings need to cover the nose and mouth and fit snugly against the sides of the face without gaps. A TSA officer will ask travelers to briefly adjust their mask for ID verification purposes. Travelers without a mask may be denied entry, boarding, or continued transport. Failure to comply with the mask requirement can result in civil penalties.

• Increased frequency and intensity of cleaning and disinfecting surfaces in the security checkpoint including bins. This is no substitute for practicing good hygiene while traveling. Travelers are encouraged to wash their hands before and after going through the checkpoint.

Here are some additional tips to remember during the summer travel season:

Step 1: Pack smart Travelers should be aware of the contents of their carry-on bags and make sure they are not bringing prohibited items to the security checkpoint. Any type of prohibited item in a carry-on slows down the screening process for everyone, leading to delays in the security checkpoint. To determine whether an item is allowed or prohibited in carry-on luggage, download the MyTSA app and use the “Can I Bring?” feature. By planning ahead, travelers can avoid a bag check and reduce the potential for cross-contamination. Another option is to contact @AskTSA on Twitter or Facebook Messenger to get answers to your travel questions.

Step 2: Secure items in your carry-on When removing items from pockets such as phones, wallets, keys or loose change, secure them in their carry-on bags instead of placing them directly in bins, which are a common use item. This will prevent travelers from inadvertently leaving these important items behind at the security checkpoint. In addition, as an added benefit, this reduces the number of touchpoints among travelers.

Step 3: Traveling with hand sanitizer TSA is allowing one liquid hand sanitizer container, up to 12 ounces per passenger, in carry-on bags. Passengers may also bring hand wipes of any size or quantity through security checkpoints.

Step 4: Leave bear spray and camping fuel behind Don’t let your enthusiasm for outdoor activities result in your bringing bear spray, camping fuel or other items that are prohibited in carry-on and checked luggage. Not sure if you can travel with certain items? Review TSA’s travel advice website.

Step 5: Enroll in TSA PreCheck® today People can “Travel with Ease” and experience a smoother screening process by enrolling in TSA PreCheck®. Eligible travelers do not need to remove shoes, belts, light outerwear, laptops, electronics larger than a cell phone or travel-size liquids from carry-on luggage. The closest enrollment center is located in Oxnard at 300 E Esplanade Drive, Suite 460. It is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. In June 2021, 97% of travelers eligible for TSA PreCheck waited five minutes or less to be screened at airports nationwide. Another benefit of the program is that children 12 and under are permitted to use the TSA PreCheck lane when traveling with an eligible parent or guardian on the same itinerary.

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cwazny Jul 15, 2021 09:25 AM
Santa Barbara Airport Anticipates High Volume of Travelers This Summer

There's no "beacon" that they use on East Mesa. When coming into SBA from the East, weather permitting, they use the VOR 25 approach. The VOR 25 approach does NOT take them over The Mesa at all. The MDA (Minimum Descent Altitude) for the VOR 25 approach is 920 feet, and that's not until after they get to More Mesa. They begin their descent to 920 feet from 2100 feet at an intersection called ZACKS, offshore of Shoreline Park. You can Google the approach plate for the VOR 25 approach, and see EXACTLY how the airliners (and any other aircraft on that approach) come in from the East. Stop calling the FAA.

Stray Jul 15, 2021 07:34 PM
Santa Barbara Airport Anticipates High Volume of Travelers This Summer

Our home is 6 miles east of the airport and lately planes are coming over our home repeatedly. Friends on the Mesa, further east than us, report the same problem. We didn't use to live under a flight path. I thought jets were supposed to come in over the ocean, descend and bank left over More Mesa on their approach. What's up? There's a hot line phone number to call for aircraft disturbance, and its 805-967-1900.

cwazny Jul 16, 2021 10:10 AM
Santa Barbara Airport Anticipates High Volume of Travelers This Summer

STRAY - 6 miles east of the airport would put you around Las Positas. I've NEVER seen an airliner flying over land in that area. I would love to have you post a picture of that. Airliners approaching from the east fly the VOR 25 approach, and that approach keeps them out over the water until they hit More Mesa. The only aircraft that are routed over the city are small aircraft, and they are instructed to follow the freeway for right base runway 15. I'm a local pilot that has been flying in and out of SBA for 34 years. Again, I've NEVER seen an airliner approaching over the city.

Stray Jul 17, 2021 03:54 PM
Santa Barbara Airport Anticipates High Volume of Travelers This Summer

Download the Flightradar24 app onto you phone. It's free. You'll get detailed real time information on the live air traffic around the world or over your house from your mobile device. With this app, if an aircraft's flight/landing path is inland, loud, and stressful, just point your smartphone at the sky to identify what flight is passing overhead. Call in your complaint with this info at 805-967-1900. Aviation is great, but pilots and their flight paths should not trump our peaceful neighborhoods.

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