As more than 200 million people begin their summer travel, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is reminding travelers to prepare for security check-in and be aware of recent modifications to their screening procedures at airports across the country. These changes include that passengers 12 years and under can now leave their shoes on during security screening. In addition, the TSA just completed a screening pilot program for individuals 75 years and older. Over Memorial Day weekend, the pilot program rolled out in the New York area as older people were not required to take off shoes, belts and jackets as they passed through security checkpoints at John F. Kennedy International, La Guardia, and Newark Liberty. In the coming months, the program will continue to be implemented at other airports across the country.
By allowing extra time at the airport for security check-in and following a few simple tips, getting through security can be an easy process.
- Leave gifts unwrapped. They may be opened for inspection.
- Avoid wearing clothing, jewelry and accessories that contain metal. Metal items may set off the alarm on the metal detector.
- Put all undeveloped film and cameras with film in your carry-on baggage. Checked baggage screening equipment will damage undeveloped film.
- Carry-on baggage is limited to one carry-on bag plus one personal item. Personal items include laptops, purses, small backpacks, briefcases or camera cases.
- Place identification tags in and on all of your baggage. Don’t forget your laptop computer.
- When packing your carry-on luggage, it is important to layer your items. A neat layer of clothing, electronics, more clothing and then any heavier items makes it easier for the x-ray technician to see items properly. If you throw everything together in one bag without separating them, a cell phone or CD player can look like a possible threat in an x-ray.
- Avoid, if possible, packing larger electronic items like laptops and video cameras in your carry on. If you do, those items will be removed from your carry-on and be sent through the x-ray machine individually.
- Liquids, gels, aerosol bottles, baby formula and medicine are permitted in your carry-on bag but in 3.4 ounce (100ml) bottle or less and it must be placed in a one quart-size, clear plastic, zip-top bag.
- Security will want a good look at anything you bring as checked baggage. If you choose to lock your bags, know that security can break the lock in order to inspect the items inside. You might avoid this by using a TSA recognized locking mechanism, which can be opened by security officers only at the airport. These locks can be bought at the airport or travel stores. The packaging on the locks indicates whether they can be opened by TSA. Not sure where to get a compatible lock? Try safeskieslocks.com or travelsentry.org.
- TSA has created a free app for iPhones and mobile web devices to help travelers get all the information they need about security at the tip of their fingers, including a "Can I Bring My ________ Through the Security Checkpoint?" tool that will tell them if their item can be brought onto a plane in carry-on or checked baggage. Visit http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/mobile/index.shtm for more information.
As an added convenience, the TSA Contact Center (TCC) recently extended its hours, and representatives are now available Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern time and weekends and federal holidays, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time. Passengers can contact the TCC with questions about TSA procedures, upcoming travel or to provide feedback or voice concerns. The TCC can be reached at 866-289-9673 or http://www.tsa.gov/contact/index.shtm.
Other important links:
Travelers with Disabilities and Medical Concerns (including helpful videos)
Traveling with Special Items (firearms, camera equipment, musical instruments, hunting and fishing equipment, etc.)
Traveling with Children (including helpful videos)
Accommodations for U.S. Military Personnel
Religious and Cultural Needs
Once you’ve made it through the gates, relax and you’re on your way!