Tampa International Airport Now Open to Public Access — But…

Tampa International Airport — in cooperation with the Transportation Security Administration — now allows the public to access shops and restaurants beyond the security checkpoint of the terminal without requiring the purchase of an airline ticket effective as of yesterday, Saturday, May 4, 2019…

Tampa International Airport Now Open to Public Access — But…

…but at the present time, access is only available on Saturdays between 8:00 in the morning and 8:00 in the evening with a TPA All Access Pass, which is limited to 25 people per airside and with one airside per visit — but if all goes well, that could change in the future.

Unfortunately, TPA All Access Pass are already completely sold out throughout the month of May.

Visitors who are younger than 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.

This shopping and dining guide gives you a list of the options which you can enjoy while visiting the airport.

The process for reservations for a TPA All Access Pass and checking in are as follows:

  1. Sign up for TPA All Access at least 24 hours prior to your visit by clicking on the link below. You will be redirected to the scheduling site.
  2. Go to the Information Kiosk located on Level 3 of the Main Terminal on the day of your visit to pick up your TPA All Access Pass. You must show valid photographic identification to obtain the TPA All Access Pass.
  3. Proceed through security checkpoint at your designated airside — which are the same requirements as ticketed passengers. Those participating in the TPA All Access program are subject to the same security screening regulations as passengers boarding an airplane. All items prohibited in carry-on luggage — including liquids, aerosols and gels — apply to personal items taken through security. Please review this list of all items which are prohibited by the Transportation Security Administration.

Other Airports Which Have Offered Public Access in the Past Two Years

Tampa International Airport is the latest airport to offer public access to people who are not ticketed passengers. Pittsburgh International Airport became the first airport in the United States to allow the public to access shops and restaurants beyond the security checkpoint without requiring an airline ticket between the hours of 9:00 in the morning through 5:00 in the evening Monday through Friday every week all year round as of Tuesday, September 5, 2017.

Seattle–Tacoma International Airport began to allow the public to access shops and restaurants beyond the security checkpoint of the terminal without requiring the purchase of an airline ticket from Tuesdays through Saturdays from 8:00 in the morning through 9:00 in the evening with the new SEA Visitor Pass…

…but that was a pilot program which ended on Friday, December 14, 2018. During the trial period, 1,165 visitors enrolled in the program. “The airport team is currently evaluating the program results and participant feedback and will make a decision sometime in 2019 on whether to continue the program”, according to this announcement at the official Internet web site of the SEA Visitor Pass program. “Stay tuned for more information!”

Summary

I have long stated that I believe that a number of security measures which were implemented at airports across the country after the events of Tuesday, September 11, 2001 occurred are superfluous at best and give the arguably false impression that airports are much safer than before that infamous day.

Programs such as the ones in Tampa, Seattle and Pittsburgh allow airports to be more accessible. Although I am all for programs of this type — which would allow merchants at businesses within the airport to potentially increase profits while people can spend more time with loved ones at the gate or elsewhere in the secure areas of the airport — problems can possibly occur: on certain days such as holidays, where do people who are not traveling on that day park their vehicles when parking facilities are already full with no empty parking spaces; and will the airports themselves become significantly more crowded?

Based on the wording of the announcement from the SEA Visitor Pass program, I have a feeling that a permanent version of the program will eventually be implemented. What else could the exclamation of “Stay tuned for more information!” mean?

Regardless, I am glad to see this program being introduced at Tampa International Airport — even if it is only on Saturdays — and I hope that it will be considered at additional airports across the United States.

An airplane which is operated by United Airlines prepares to take off from Tampa International Airport. Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

2 thoughts on “Tampa International Airport Now Open to Public Access — But…”

  1. Steve says:

    Great airport, parking, food options, TSA lines, on and on.

  2. Dustin says:

    Who in their right mind would go to the airport willingly lol. High parking fees and high prices inside the airport. Plus you can’t even utililize the lounges like If you bought a refundable southwest ticket!

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