Everyone who has travelled since 9/11 has dealt with increased security and navigating the airport in a new way. While National security is of the utmost importance and is greatly appreciated, as a traveller it can be a challenge. The road warriors get angry and frustrated by the families and regular travelers. These tips are designed to help you sail through TSA and get started on your vacation or holiday travel.
Have your ID and your ticket in your hand while in line.
This makes it easy for the TSA Agents when you approach the first podium. Be nice and friendly but not overly so. They are looking for suspicious behavior, just be yourself. TSA will accept a US or Foreign passport, driver’s license or state government-issued photo ID as well as a Native American Tribal Photo ID.
Avoid checking bags if possible.
This makes your overall travel experience easier and you can stow things in the overhead compartment. Be careful not to bring any bags larger than the carry on allowable by airline regulations.
You will need to take off your shoes, belts and any jewelry you are wearing.
Wearing slip on shoes is your best bet. All jewelry, watches, coins and anything metal will have to come off and go into the bin to go through the conveyor scanner.
No liquid beverages allowed through security.
You can purchase water and other beverages after you pass through security. If you walk up with your coffee, you will have to finish it or throw it out. Not a good way to start the morning.
You may bring one quart sized ziplock baggie.
Prepare a 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag of liquids before arriving at the airport. For more information on liquid rules: 3-1-1 for carry-ons.
If you are wearing a hat or scarf, you will have to remove them.
They will make exceptions but you will be required to go through additional screening. Women may have their hair searched if it is up in a bun or a similar style.
Be helpful and answer all questions that the TSA agents ask.
Arguing with TSA or making a joke about firearms or bombs will get you a visit to the back room. They are just doing their jobs and your plane will be safe thanks to this very screening process.
Be prepared for additional screening.
You may be randomly selected for additional screening. Again, be cooperative and helpful to make it go faster and more efficiently.
You have the right to deny the Advanced Imaging Techology (AIT).
But this will only increase your time in the security area. It takes a few seconds to walk through the machine. If you decline, you will have a physical search which is a much more invasive task.
If you use a smart phone ticket pass, have a hard copy as well.
These fail frequently and if it fails, you will have to go to the ticket counter to print a ticket.
Computers and iPads must be out of the case and in a separate tray for screening.
Speed things up with TSA Precheck
The fast pass for travel is TSA Precheck. In October 2017, 97% of TSA Pre✓® passengers waited less than 5 min.
With Precheck, you don’t have to remove your shoes, belts, light jackets, or computers. You can apply online and then you have an in-person appointment.
Arrive at least an hour prior to your flight to allow time to get through security and get to your gate.
When in doubt, it is advisable to check the Transportation Security Administration website for more details. Despite all this information, it is possible to plan accordingly and have a fabulous trip. You may print a checklist from the TSA prior to packing for your convenience.