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News from the TSA

Monday, March 11, 2013
A new passenger support program is being announced to support disabled travelers.

Passenger Support Specialists Program (PSS)

  • 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 collateral responsibility of assisting passengers who may be in need of assistance.
  • A traveler who needs assistance or is concerned about his or her screening can ask a checkpoint officer or supervisor for a Passenger Support Specialist at the respective checkpoint. Or, if TSA personnel recognize someone is having difficulty, a PSS could be called to ask whether assistance is needed.
  • TSA still encourages travelers with disabilities and medical conditions to contact TSA Cares before they fly. At some airports, Passenger Support Specialists will also complement the TSA Cares program.
  • In the course of assisting a passenger, the PSS will adhere to all of TSA’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). While customer service will be emphasized, security is our primary mission and will not be compromised.
  • While all Transportation Security Officers receive training on how to screen individuals with disabilities and medical conditions, PSSs receive enhanced training directly from subject matter experts in the field of disability and from individuals with disabilities themselves.
  • PSSs receive approximately four hours of additional training, including two hours from the TSA Disability Branch, focused specifically on travelers with disabilities and medical conditions. This training includes additional instruction on civil rights for individuals with disabilities and medical conditions, and strategies for providing assistance with dignity and respect.
  • Members of TSA’s disability coalition helped to develop, and participated in, the training of our PSS volunteers to ensure that our specialists are learning directly from the community they will be assisting.
  • TSA is committed to having a Passenger Support Specialist available during all screening checkpoint operating hours. If a traveler believes he or she may need to request the assistance of a Passenger Support Specialist, he or she is encouraged to arrive at the airport early and immediately ask an officer or a supervisor for a PSS.