Get Your TSA Questions Answered Fast With This Clever Time-Saving Hack

TSA officers often get a bad rap for being intimidating. But can you blame them? These agents screen thousands of passengers a day, so it's understandable that they sometimes veer into unapproachable territory. Unbeknownst to some, there's a side to the TSA that's friendlier and more accessible than you think: its X (formerly Twitter) account. If you have urgent questions about airport security screening and want a prompt response (minus the snark), then all you need to do is tweet.

The dynamic team that runs the award-winning, perenially punny TSA Instagram account is the same team that maintains the agency's X account, so you can expect quick replies and a distinctly warm digital demeanor. If you're lucky, you might even receive a witty joke! Janis Burl, the social media branch manager for the TSA, told The New York Times that the team is capable of responding to people's queries "pretty much 'Johnny on the spot,'" so even if you're already waiting at the security line and find yourself having a last-minute question, a quick tweet to @AskTSA can spare you from approaching an officer directly. "They typically answer within less than two minutes," Burl assured.

This approach is particularly handy for those tricky travel questions, like whether or not you can bring peanut butter in your carry-on. Just fire a tweet to get an almost instantaneous response. If you swore off Elon Musk's app entirely, TSA offers an alternative for quick answers: You can text your questions. 

You can also send the TSA a text or chat with an agent over Facebook

You can't add the TSA to the trip-planning group chat with your family, but you can send them a text instead. If you have burning questions you need answered, the agency recommends sending your queries via SMS by texting the word "travel" to AskTSA (275-872). Like most customer service platforms, you'll first be greeted by a chatbot, which will ask you to categorize your query. You can select from options like TSA PreCheck, What's Allowed, and Damages/Claims. If there's no canned response for your specific concern, a live agent will come to the rescue. 

If X or texting doesn't work for you, there's one more way to get a fast response, and it's a method that your mom will probably find favorable: Facebook Messenger. Like X, there's a chatbot involved, but it also lets you ask a TSA agent directly for questions that the automated system cannot address.

No matter which method you choose — X, text, or Facebook Messenger — just remember that live assistance from the TSA operates within a specific time frame. While available daily, you can only receive non-automated responses from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET, so time your questions right. TSA agents need their beauty sleep, too!