TSA travel tip: Military family member gate passes

Petty Officer 3rd Class John Hoyt, a Maritime Enforcement Specialist, leads the Everett, Wash., based Port Security Unit (PSU) 313 through Seattle-Tacoma International Airport gates to the unit's families who were waiting inside the terminal, Aug. 13, 2011. Hoyt's twin daughters, who he has never seen, were born while PSU 313 was on an extended deployment to the Middle East. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Anderson.

U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Anderson.

Following extended time at sea, a deployment in support of a disaster response or a tour with Patrol Forces Southwest Asia, the idea of being reunited with family members is something special for Coast Guard personnel. Military homecomings have taken on new meaning for military families over the past decade but along with them come the challenges of navigating post-9/11 security in America’s airports.

Nine reserve members of the Coast Guard Redeployment Assistance and Inspection Detachment walk across the jet bridge at the Norfolk International Airport, Feb. 25, 2012, following a year deployment to Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait. The team assisted military personnel with the redeployment of containerized Department of Defense cargo and hazardous materials. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Brandyn Hill.

U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Brandyn Hill.

Our friends over at the Transportation Security Administration appreciate the sacrifices our servicemembers and their families make and have created programs – along with participating airlines – to support military personnel and their families traveling through our nation’s airports. One such benefit is the military family member gate pass.

Family members who want to accompany a military service member being deployed to the boarding gate or greet them returning from deployment at the arrival gate may receive special passes to enter the secure area of the airport without a boarding pass. Interested military family members should contact their air carrier representative at the departure/arrival airport for proper local procedures. Remember, the family members will have to be screened through the TSA checkpoint just as if they were flying.

For more information on military family member gate passes or other benefits available to military personnel, injured service members, veterans and wounded warriors, please visit the TSA website and stay tuned to Coast Guard All Hands for future TSA travel tips.

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