If you haven't traveled by plane recently, meaning in the last 20 years or so, you may not be familiar with the TSA security checkpoints at each US airport. Even if you have flown during that time but it has been a while, some of the rules and procedures may have changed or you may not remember what it was like. Those who travel often are familiar with the process but you can always learn a thing or two about getting through a TSA security check with less hassle for both you and the TSA agents. Be sure to keep these 10 things in mind the next time you plan to travel by plane.
10 Double-Check Your Carryon Liquids
The standard rule for liquids in your carryon luggage is that no one container of liquids, gels, pastes, aerosols, and creams can be larger than 3.4 oz. All of the liquid items you bring with you in your carryon must also fit inside a quart-sized bag and be able to stay closed. The bag must be clear so that TSA agents can see all of the items inside. The TSA Liquid Rule is important and an agent will make you remove any items that are larger than 3.4 oz or don't fit inside the bag.
9 Put Your Medications In Checked Baggage
You are allowed to bring your medications with you in your carryon but it can make getting through the security checkpoint a little more difficult, especially if you have medications that are in pill cases or in liquid form. It makes things much easier if you keep your medication in your checked baggage. However, any medication that you may need while on your flight should be kept with you. If you need to keep medications with you, be sure they are properly labeled and stored. If you are bringing insulin and other diabetic supplies with you through a TSA security check, you will need to let an agent know.
8 Pack Your Carryon With TSA In Mind
When going through a security check, it's important to keep in mind that you will need to take certain items out of your carryon luggage and place them in bins that will go through a scanner. The easier it is to remove these items and then repack them on the other side of the checkpoint the better. Your liquids should already be inside a clear, quart-sized bag and should be easy to take out. Your laptop and other electronics should be accessible as well. There are carryon bags, laptop bags, and even liquids containers that are designed specifically for travel that can make this process much more convenient but you should also know how to pack a carryon.
7 Wear Proper Footwear To The Airport
You should keep in mind that you will need to remove your shoes so they can go through the TSA scanner. If you are wearing boots or other types of footwear that take time to remove, it can slow up the line and also make going through the checkpoint much more difficult for you. While sandals may seem like a good choice because you can easily slip them off, you most likely don't want to walk barefoot on the same floor that many other travelers are as well. Investing in a comfortable pair of slip-on shoes and always wearing socks is the best bet. Be sure to wear comfortable clothes to the airport as well.
6 Add Any Extras To Checked Baggage
Your carryon luggage should be used for items you need to have with you or you will use during your flight, such as a laptop. Some travelers prefer to carry an extra change of clothes in the event their checked baggage gets lost, and this is a great idea.
However, any items that aren't essential should be added to your checked bag. This makes getting through security checks much easier and it also makes getting seated on the plane easier for you as well as other travelers. Before leaving for the airport, check out the TSA Travel Checklist and be sure to check it twice.
5 Have Your Paperwork Ready When You Get In Line
Once at the airport and you have your ticket, you'll head toward the TSA checkpoint assigned for your gate. Some airports only have one checkpoint depending on the size. As soon as you get in line you should expect the TSA agent to need your ticket as well as your photo ID. If you are traveling internationally, you will need a valid passport and not an ID or driver's license. Having your paperwork ready ensures you get through this step and into a lane quickly and that you aren't holding up other travelers.
4 Choose The Right Lane (If Not Told Which One)
Sometimes the TSA agent who checks your ticket and ID or passport will tell you which lane to enter. If they don't, you should take a quick scan of the open lanes to determine which is the best. While one lane may look shorter, if you can see that there are several families in line, it may take longer to get through it. On the other hand, a longer line at another lane may go faster if there are business people in line and others who look like they are used to traveling.
3 Don't Wait To Get Ready While In Line
As soon as you get into a lane, you can start to prepare for going through the security check. Removing your belt, any items you may have in your pockets, and your jacket if you are wearing one can make things go faster. As soon as there are bins available, start removing your bag of liquids, your electronics, and your shoes. Be sure to keep moving the bings closer to the scanner as the line moves forward. A TSA agent may remind you of other items you may need to place into bins or they may situate your items differently.
2 Be Polite To TSA Agents
TSA agents meet many people throughout their long shifts and not all of these people are pleasant. Some people can be stressed about missing a flight or even about the hassle of the security check. Parents may be flustered trying to get several children through the checkpoint. Being polite to the agents who are helping you through the security check can go a long way toward getting you through quickly and conveniently and may even make their day a little easier. Plus, you don't want to make it onto the TSA's naughty list.
1 Don't Joke Around (About Serious Matters)
You may think that a simple joke about a bomb in your shoe or a plan exploding would make a TSA agent laugh. After all, that's the reason they are there, and perhaps they could use a chuckle. However, even things said as a joke are taken very seriously by the TSA and your simple joke to make someone laugh may mean you end up in an interview room. It's been to smile and be polite, or even ask how an agent's day is going, but the jokes are best left unsaid.