Flying can be exciting, as well as daunting, and “getting through security”, as we tend to reference it, always feels like a chore. Is the line going to be long? Will I get there in time, or miss my flight? How can I make this required step go as smoothly as possible? The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) manages the security checkpoints, and on August 8, 2023 they released a new list of helpful suggestions to make your experience as smooth as possible.
Here are the TSA’s 6 dos and 6 don’ts for you to take into consideration. Some require planning ahead, so read carefully. Happy travels!
1. Names Must Match
When purchasing a ticket online, enter your full name as it appears on your ID. Do not enter your nickname. The name on your boarding pass should match the name on your ID.
2. Enroll in TSA PreCheck®
TSA PreCheck® is hands-down the best way to travel through a security checkpoint because you will not have to remove your shoes, belt, or light outerwear jacket. It’s typically the lane with travelers who are most familiar with the screening process and so the lane moves quickly. Children ages 17 and under who are traveling on their parent’s reservation can go through the TSA PreCheck lane with their parent.
3. Download the Free MyTSA App
Download the free MyTSA app. The MyTSA app has a handy “What can I bring?” feature that will let you know where to pack an item (what you can pack in a checked bag is not the same as your carry-on). It will let you know the estimated wait time at a checkpoint. It lets you know if there are flight delays at your airport; and it will let you know when the TSA PreCheck lane is open.
4. Choose Footwear Wisely
Wear shoes that are easy to remove and put back on. Shoes that lace up your calf will slow you down. Slip-on shoes are best. And do yourself (and everyone) a favor and wear socks.
5. Use Your Time in Line Wisely
If you find yourself in a checkpoint line, use that time wisely. Remove all items from your pockets and place them into your carry-on bag. Empty your pockets completely. That means everything, even non-metallic items from tissues to breath mints. This helps avoid pat-downs.
6. Keep Track of Your Mobile Phone
Place your mobile phone inside your carry-on bag at the checkpoint. Don’t put it in a bin where other people have placed their shoes. You don’t want to put your phone in a bin and then hold it up to your face.
7. No Joking Around
Do not joke about having an explosive device or claim that you’ve got a bomb with you. The next thing you know, you’ll be having a very serious conversation with a local police officer, and you may not make your flight – or worse.
8. No Pets or Children In The X-Ray Machine
Never put your pet or child through the checkpoint X-ray unit. Yes, it happens and we have to say this. No need to expose them to X-rays. Remove your pet from its carry-on case and remove your child from its carrier. Carry them through the metal detector.
9. Follow Correct Firearm Protocol
Never bring a firearm to a security checkpoint. If you want to travel with your gun, the proper way to pack it is unloaded inside a locked hard-sided case and declared at your airline counter for the gun case to be transported in the belly of the aircraft.
10. Don’t Put Things In Your Mouth
Never use your mouth as an extra hand. Your ID is handled by others and goes into a credential reader along with thousands of other IDs. Then you put it into your mouth while you fidget with your phone? Germs, folks.
11. Small Items Go In Containers
Never place small items directly onto the X-ray belt. Phones, keys, boarding passes and anything else that is small will likely fall between the conveyor belt’s rollers and can be difficult (or impossible) to retrieve. Instead, place these smaller items into a bowl, bin, or better yet, into your carry-on bag.
12. Bottles of Water Need to Be Left Behind – But Bring The Empty Bottle
Never bring a bottle of water to a security checkpoint, however you can bring an empty water bottle or reusable insulated container with you and then fill it up on the secure side of the checkpoint. It’s a great way to refill it with fresh water, help the environment and save a few bucks by not having to purchase it in the airport.
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