Tampa Becomes Third U.S. Airport to Allow Non-Passengers Through Security

by Daine Taylor
Tampa Becomes Third U.S. Airport to Allow Non-Passengers Through Security

Non-passengers can now enjoy dining and shopping experiences at the newly renovated Tampa International Airport. Peter Titmuss / Shutterstock.com


Tampa International Airport will now allow non-passengers to go through security, thanks to its new All Access program. The airport recently invested more than $2 billion on an extensive makeover, and now thanks to the Airside Access program, up to 100 people can visit an airside terminal of their choice every Saturday, to shop, dine, and relax without a plane ticket.

“To those feeling left out because you can’t get to all these great restaurants and shops we’ve been touting: We heard you,” said Tampa Airport CEO Joe Lopano. Saturday, May 4, was the first day the program was initiated, coinciding with Mother’s Day deals and promotions.

This move makes Tampa only the third U.S. airport to allow non-passenger access since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. 

Pittsburgh Airport was the first to allow people who are not flying to pass through security back in 2017, leading the charge with myPITpass, which operated in conjunction with the TSA to give the public the ability to shop and dine in the airport terminal or accompany a loved one to their gate.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport was next to follow suit, introducing a new SEA Visitor Pass for a trial period that allowed non-traveling guests to go through security. During the trial, more than 1,100 visitors enrolled in the six-week program between Nov. 2 and Dec. 14. The airport is evaluating the results, and plans on making a decision sometime this year on whether to make the program permanent.

Tampa International Airport brought in more than 50 new restaurants, bars, shops and spas as part of last year’s $2 billion overhaul, and now the public can enjoy them all, whether they’re traveling or not.

"The problem was, the people who were really excited about it said, 'Hey! Wait a minute. I can't go out the airside to try out that restaurant. What's up with that?'" said Lopano. “Now families, foodies or even couples looking for a unique date experience can come try our chargrilled oysters at Ulele, sample locally brewed beer at Cigar City, and shop for unique gifts and items at our duty-free and fine retail stores, without having to buy a ticket.”

To sign up for the All Access pass, visit www.TPAallaccess.com. Participating guests are subject to the same security screening regulations as passengers boarding a plane. Participants choose a date and an airside at least 24 hours prior to the Saturday they plan to visit, with a limit of 25 guests per airside, and then collect gate passes when they arrive at TPA any time between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. on the selected date. They then board their airside shuttle and go through TSA screening to have access to all of the shops, restaurants, and services at the airside terminal.

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