TSA Tips

PACK SMART. Pack an organized carry-on bag using layers – a layer of clothes, then electronics, more clothes, and then any heavier items. This will help transportation security officers see what’s in your bag. Innocent items can actually appear to be potential threats in an X-ray image, simply by the way they are packed.
Prepare a 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag of liquids before arriving at the airport. 3.4 ounce (100ml) bottle or less (by volume) ; 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; 1 bag per passenger placed in screening bin. One-quart bag per person limits the total liquid volume each traveler can bring. 3.4 ounce (100ml) container size is a security measure. Declare larger liquids. Medications, baby formula and food, and breast milk are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding three ounces and are not required to be in the zip-top bag. Declare these items for inspection at the checkpoint. Officers may need to open these items to conduct additional screening.
When possible, do not pack oversized electronics (laptops, full-size video game consoles, DVD players and video cameras that use cassettes) in checked baggage. However, please be advised that these items must be removed from carry-on bags and submitted separately for X-ray screening.

Pack all coats and jackets in checked baggage when possible. All coats and jackets must go through the X-ray machine for inspection.
Do not wrap gifts. If a security officer needs to inspect a package, they may have to unwrap the gift. Passengers should refrain from wrapping gifts until arriving at their final destination.
Film. Undeveloped film should go in carry-on bags. Passengers will be able to declare film that is faster than 800-speed to a transportation security officer for physical inspection to avoid being X-rayed.
When in doubt, leave it out. Unsure if an item is prohibited or not? Travelers should place such items in their checked baggage or leave the item at home.

Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT): Before passing through this technology, TSA strongly recommends removing ALL items from pockets, as well as certain accessories, including wallet, belt, bulky jewelry, money, keys, and cell phone. Removing all of these items will reduce the chance of needing additional screening after exiting the machine. The officer viewing the image cannot see the passenger, so any irregularity that appears on the screen will require inspection to determine what it is.

Body Piercings: Certain metal body piercings may cause the machines to alarm, which will result in additional screening. If additional screening is required, passengers may be asked to remove their body piercing in private as an alternative to the pat-down search.

Head Coverings: Travelers are permitted to wear head coverings and religious garments during the screening process. They may be directed to additional screening if the headwear or clothing (religious or otherwise) is loose fitting or large enough to hide prohibited items. Shoes: Please remove shoes before entering the screening technology and put them directly on the belt to go through the X-ray machine instead of in a bin with other items. It is safe, easy, and gives officers a better look.

Passengers with disabilities, medical conditions or a prosthetic device that prevents them from removing their shoes, should notify a security officer. These passengers will be given additional screening that includes a visual and physical inspection.

Passengers should present the following documents to a Transportation Security Officer at the checkpoint:

Boarding pass.
Valid Identification.
Passengers without identification (lost, stolen, etc.), will be required to provide the document checking officer with some information to help verify their identity. Please allow additional time since this slows down the screening process and will result in additional screening. (Children are not required to show identification).
Arrive on time. Arrival time recommendations vary by airline and day of travel, so check with the air carrier. Remember to leave adequate time to check baggage and move through security.
Wear slip-on shoes. This allows travelers to remove and replace their shoes quickly without the need to sit down.
Pets. Please remove all animals from their carrying cases and send the case through the X-ray machine. Hold your pet in your arms and proceed through the metal detector.
Children. Please take infants and children out of baby carriers and strollers and take them through the metal detector. Strollers and baby carriers go through the X-ray machine with your bags. If possible, collapse the stroller before arriving at the metal detector. Think before you speak. Belligerent behavior, inappropriate jokes and threats will not be tolerated. They will result in delays and possibly missing flight departures. Local law enforcement may be called as necessary.

VIew TSA’S Page www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/screening_experience.shtm


Angie’s List recently spoke to experienced travel agents across the country to get their top ten tips for traveling while on vacation. (Date published: July 30th, 2012 by Natalie Evans )

10 tips from travel agents for your next vacation

1. Check in a day early. Online check-ins should be done 24 hours prior to your flight’s departure. Don’t forget to include emergency contact information.

2. Catch a ride. If possible, have a friend or relative drop you off at the airport to avoid paying parking fees. Also, be sure to work around your driver’s schedule and consider the time of day in order to beat rush hour traffic.

3. Be on time. For domestic flights, it’s a good idea to arrive at the airport at least two hours in advance. If you’re flying internationally, plan on showing up at the airport at least three hours in advance. Remember that during peak travel times, there will usually be lines for both luggage check-ins and security screenings.

4. Avoid peak travel times. If you can, avoid booking flights on Fridays, Sundays and on Monday mornings, which are peaks times for business travelers and those returning from vacation. Other peak travel periods include weekend evenings.

5. Make a copy. When traveling out of the country, make sure to keep your passport locked safely in your hotel room. When away from your room, carry a photocopy of the identification section with your picture in case you lose the original. Having this copy can also expedite replacement if your passport becomes lost or stolen.

6. Slip past detectors. To get through security screenings quickly, it’s a good idea to wear slip-on shoes such as flip-flops or sandals and avoid wearing metal belts or excessive amounts of metal jewelry.

7. Bring it on board. To avoid a hassle if your checked luggage gets lost or delayed, your carry-on luggage should include a clean change of clothes, pajamas, a toothbrush, toiletries (under three ounces) any necessary medications and, if you’re staying at a resort or near a beach, a swimsuit.

8. Pack lightly. To avoid paying more for checked luggage, travel light and pack smart. Roll your clothing to save more space in your bag. Only pack three pairs of shoes at most, two casual and one dressy, as well as clothing of similar or neutral colors that can be easily combined to make multiple outfits.

9. Avoid a decline. When traveling far from home and especially when traveling internationally, make sure to call your bank and credit card companies to let them know where you’ll be to avoid having a credit or debit card locked due to a fraud alert.  If you are traveling overseas, order a Travelex or similar card to easily convert U.S. dollars to foreign currency.

10. Know where you’re going. Travel agents said one of the most important keys to avoiding a hassle when traveling to an unfamiliar place is to educate yourself on local culture, custom and etiquette, as well as tipping policies.