High fares, long airport security lines and frequent delays are the three burdens of flying. While we can’t control cost or weather conditions, we can get you in check with airport security. AVE recently spoke with the Transportation Security Administration’s Office of Public Affairs to find out how you can shorten your stay in the airport security line.
#1- Think 3-1-1
TSA and its security partners conducted extensive explosives testing, which revealed that liquids, aerosols and gels, in limited quantities, are safe to bring aboard an aircraft. This translates to each passenger being limited to one clear, plastic, quart-sized, zip-top bag. An easy way to remember the restrictions is to think 3-1-1: 3.4-ounce bottles (100 ml) or less (by volume) placed in one clear, plastic, quart-sized, zip-top bag, and one bag per passenger placed in screening bin. “Consolidating the bottles into one bag and x-raying them separately from the carry-on bag enables security officers to quickly clear the items,” says Lisa Farbstein of TSA public affairs. Make sure you declare larger liquid items like medications, baby formula, food and breast milk for inspection at checkpoint, as officers may need to open these items to conduct additional screening.
#2- Download MyTSA
Are tools allowed in a carry-on or must they be checked? Can you fly with firearms? TSA has an app for that (and it’s free!). MyTSA allows you to type in any item, identifying whether it is an admissible or prohibited one. It also recognizes items that may be carried on and those that must be checked. “MyTSA provides passengers with 24/7 access to the most commonly requested TSA information,” Farbstein says. “Not only does it tell you if something can be brought through security checkpoint, it lists delays at all United States airports, offers answers to commonly asked packing questions and shows other passengers’ checkpoint wait times.”
#3- Be One Step Ahead
Know beforehand whether you must remove your shoes at airport security. Although some passengers may be randomly selected for a shoe-check (in which case your shoes will need to go onto the conveyor belt), travelers 75 years of age and older, passengers 12 years of age and younger and those who are members of TSA Pre✓™ may keep their shoes on.
#4: Have it in the Bag
It’s easy to forget items in the divestiture bins. But if you place all your belongings (wallet, keys, cell phone, change, etc.) in a plastic grocery bag and place it directly in the bin, you’ll be less likely to leave something behind. After you complete the screening process, simply pick up your bag and go. “It also makes it less likely that another passenger will accidently pick up one of your items,” Farbstein says. “A lot of cell phones look similar.”
#5: Consult TSA’s website
If you have a question, the first place to check is TSA’s website. It is full of information like acceptable identification at checkpoint to prohibited items to traveling with disabilities, medical conditions and children. For more information, visit www.tsa.gov.