Preparing for your Flight to Phoenix World Burn Congress

Whether you’re flying to Dallas from across the country or from the other side of the world, you might be worried about navigating airport security checkpoints on your journey. Sensitive scars, prosthetics, and pressure garments can make security screening a difficult process for burn survivors.

That's why we reached out to Susan Buckland, Senior Policy advisor with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for tips on an accessible journey.


Firefighters help burn survivors get their baggage at airport.


Preparing for Your Flight to Phoenix World Burn Congress

By Susan Buckland, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) 


TSA offers a variety of programs to help meet the needs of travelers with disabilities and medical conditions. If you’re wondering if your burn injuries will affect your flight to Phoenix World Burn Congress, consider taking advantage of these resources:

TSA Cares

This is a helpline for travelers with disabilities and medical conditions who want to prepare for their flight. When you contact TSA Cares, a specially-trained representative will answer your questions and tell you what to expect at the security checkpoint. If you share your itinerary, they’ll contact the airports along your route to let them know you’re coming. When your trip is underway, TSA Screening Agents will be prepared to assist you. To ensure you get everything you need, call TSA Cares at least 72 hours before your flight.

Passenger Support Specialists

Passenger Support Specialists (PSS)  are trained to provide on-the-spot assistance and address screening concerns for travelers with disabilities. If you’re worried about your screening or encounter any problems, request a PSS to help you through the security checkpoint. If one isn’t available, a Customer Service Manager or Lead TSA Officer will be able to assist you.

You can also call TSA Cares to arrange PSS support prior to your trip. Each airport has different resources, so the level of checkpoint assistance might vary. Some will have a PSS call you to gather additional information and arrange a meeting, and others will just notify the checkpoint manager of your itinerary and needs.

TSA Notification Cards

TSA Notification cards are a discreet way to inform TSA officers about any disability, condition, or medical device that might affect your screening. You’ll still have to go through security screening, but the card will help you communicate with checkpoint officers.

Security Screening

TSA checkpoint personnel are trained to treat all travelers with dignity, respect, and sensitivity. Before the screening begins, communicate your limitations or special needs to a checkpoint officer. Though you won’t be exempt from screening, the officer will accommodate your needs. By familiarizing yourself with TSA’s requirements and guidelines, you’ll know your rights as a traveler and how your circumstances might affect the screening process.


For information about TSA requirements and other tips on navigating airport travel with burn injuries, see the Burn Support Magazine article Preparing for Air Travel: Tips and Resources for Burn Survivors.

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