Life Lessons: How to Follow TSA Guidelines

Airport lines are frustrating. It becomes infinitely more frustrating when someone in line slows down the group because he or she is clueless about airport security.

I was traveling a few months ago when I ran into the same situation twice. When going through security a woman was so confused. She was asked to take off her shoes for security, and she just stared at the attendant blankly. On another flight, a passenger tried to carry on a bottle of wine in his carry on- a strict no-no since it was definitely over the four ounce regulations.

While it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, clueless passengers slow up security lines and create problems for other passengers. Not to mention, knowing about what is and is not acceptable to take on an airplane is beneficial to the passenger. The one who tried to smuggle on wine had to forfeit the bottle. Bummer.

TSA (transportation security administration) regulates the security process in an airport, as well as what items are allowable on board.  These are not suggestions. Passengers can get in serious trouble if prohibited items are smuggled on board.

If you want a smooth, trouble-free flight, follow these simple tips so you won’t be the one holding up the line.

Look online ahead of time to get up to date information on what is acceptable. Restrictions are often listed online, but can include other items as well. Standard items that are always forbidden are things such as fireworks, grenades, bombs or other flammable items. These are prohibited in checked and carry on luggage. There are no exceptions.

Checked luggage can hold many other things carry-on luggage cannot. These include sharp objects, liquids (like shampoo, lotion, etc.) and firearms. New guidelines require that each carry-on bag to have limited liquids inside. This is restricted to a quart-sized bag and each bottle can only be 3 ounces big, per passenger. TSA will check each bag, so don’t think you can sneak in. For a comprehensive list of restricted items, visit http://www.tsa.gov/.

Keep an eye on the news for new regulations that could affect how you are expected to travel. For example, removing shoes in the security line is a newer guideline. After an attempted terrorist tried to smuggle contraband in his shoe, security began requiring that all shoes be removed when going through security lines. When in doubt, follow a TSA worker at the airport.

But most importantly, you must arrive to the airport early. Security lines  are a wild beast that ebbs and flows with people. You never know how long the line will be, so give yourself plenty of time to make it through security stress free. If you are so unlucky to be randomly selected for an extra thorough search, you will want enough time. Bring a book and be prepared to wait at the gate. Trust me, it is much better than missing your flight.

 

So remember: do your research, pack smart and get to the airport on time. Happy traveling!

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