San Antonio International Airport set for thousands of travelers, pets during 4th of July

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — As San Antonio gets ready to celebrate the 4th of July, air travel is starting to spike.

San Antonio International Airport (SAT) is expecting around 93,000 travelers from Thursday through Tuesday, and the rest of July could end up being a record-breaking month.

As is the case with any holiday stretch of traveling, there are some key tips the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) wants to pass along to ensure a smooth experience at the airport.

  • Arrive early – at least two hours before boarding time.
  • Print or download your boarding pass early.
  • Check your flight status online.

With more people traveling for Independence Day celebrations, more pets are also getting on planes.

“We also want people to know we have pet relief areas in both terminals,” said Tonya Hope, Public Relations Manager at SAT. “We’ve had them since 2016 and they’re a great resource for pet owners. They include turf grass, water bowls, waste bags, a sink for pet owners to wash up – and even have a decorative red fire hydrant.”

TSA Spokesperson Patricia Mancha said traveling through a security checkpoint with your pet can be easy when you know what to expect.

“Becoming familiar with the screening procedures and how to clear security quickly and easily is the first step to embarking on a great trip with your pet,” said TSA spokesperson Patricia Mancha. “All pets should be brought to the security checkpoint in a hand-held travel carrier. Never place a pet in the X-ray tunnel. The X-ray at the security checkpoint is used to screen passengers’ personal property and carry-on luggage only.”

Mancha said the process involves:

  • Removing the pet from the carrier just prior to the beginning of the screening process
  • Placing the empty travel carrier on the conveyor belt so it can be X-rayed
  • Carrying the pet or using a leash during the screening process
  • A TSA officer will give the pet owner’s hands an explosive trace detection swab to ensure there is no explosive residue on the owner’s hands
  • Once the screening process is complete, owners should return the pet to the travel carrier at the re-composure area away from the security checkpoint; this location helps ensure the safety of the pet, as well as other passengers

For information on traveling with service animals or for other special circumstances, click here to reach the TSA Contact Center.

Lisa Norwood, Public Relations Manager for ACS, said it’s also a good idea to plan for exercise and toilet breaks.

Traveler Stefanie Antosh travels through SAT with her dog, Zeita.

“SAT’s pet relief areas are perfect for all animals,” she said. “As much as possible, try to keep routines such as walks or feeding times the same as at home. Pets thrive on familiarity.”

Norwood shared the following tips:

  • Always make sure your pet has a properly fitting collar, tags and microchip with your cell phone number.
  • Get a clean bill of health from your vet (and ask about calming medications).
  • Pack a copy of your pet’s health records (including vaccinations).
  • Use a collapsible bowl for food and water.
  • Bring any needed medications/supplements.
  • Familiarize yourself with your airline’s pet-related restrictions and requirements.
  • Take a secure, comfortable crate and all of their supplies (including water).
  • Include a favorite blanket, toys and something with your scent (such as a T-shirt) to help calm your nervous pet.

For more details on traveling in and out of SAT, you can click here.

For more information, please visit the airport’s website.