TSA tips on how to clear security more efficiently

tsa_logoIn order to improve efficiency at airport security checkpoints, the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) has put together some tips to help you get through security checkpoints faster and more efficiently.

Pack smart to get through faster. Keep luggage organized by layering items; this will increase visibility for the security officers.  Time-consuming inspections often happen when a TSA agent can’t identify items with the x-ray machine. tsa-how-not-to-packThis can be avoided by packing an organized carry-on bag using layers – a layer of clothes, then electronics, more clothes, and then any heavier items. This will help security officers see what’s in your bag.   By separating electronics and other hard-plastic or dense items in your bag, helps prevent them from getting tangled into a pile that looks suspiciously like a bomb or weapon.

When approaching the checkpoint, be prepared. Boarding pass and ID should be ready for inspection, outer garments and shoes must come off, any loose metal items should be placed in your carry-on, and all liquids must come out of bags.  Consider wearing slip-on shoes, minimal jewelry, and no belt in order to move through security faster. If you insist on wearing jewelry and a watch on the plane, take them off and slip them into your carry-on before you enter the security area.  All liquids must be kept in the 3-1-1 format unless needed for special medical purposes.

Place any oversized electronics (laptops, full-size video game consoles, DVD players and video cameras that use cassettes) in separate bins.  iPods and other smaller electronics can stay in your carry-on bag (layered, as described above).

When in doubt, leave it out.  If you’re not sure about whether you can bring an item through the checkpoint, put it in your checked bag or leave it at home.

3-1-1 format for liquids

Liquid explosives still present a threat to aviation. To speed your trip through the checkpoint, pack all of your liquids in your checked bag. If you must take liquids through the checkpoint and onto the plane, be sure to follow the 3-1-1 rules for liquids, aerosols and gels. Please keep in mind that 3-1-1 doesn’t just apply to toiletries like shampoo and toothpaste, it applies to drinks, food, liquor and perfume.

Certain items are exempt from the 3-1-1 rules because of medical necessity. Medications like insulin, cough syrup and ointments, and infant needs such as breast milk and formula may be brought through the checkpoint in reasonable quantities as long as you declare them to a security officer. Other liquid items in quantities larger than three ounces should be placed in your checked bags.

3-1-1 for carry-ons = 3.4 ounce 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 oz. container size is a security measure.

Consolidate bottles into one bag and X-ray separately to speed screening.

Be prepared. Each time TSA searches a carry-on it slows down the line. Practicing 3-1-1 will ensure a faster and easier checkpoint experience.

3-1-1 is for short trips. If in doubt, put your liquids in checked luggage.

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.

Other tips for easing the security checkpoint process:

Arrive on time. Arrival time recommendations vary by airline and day of travel, so check with your carrier. A boarding pass and valid government photo ID are required to enter the security checkpoint. Remember to give yourself adequate time to check your baggage and move through security.

Do not wrap gifts. If a security officer needs to inspect a package they may have to unwrap your gift. Please wait to wrap gifts until you’re at your destination.

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 your infants and children out of baby carriers and strollers and take them through the metal detector with you. Strollers and baby carriers go through the X-ray machine with your bags. If possible, collapse your stroller before you get to the metal detector.

Film. Undeveloped film should go in your carry-on bag.  Declare film that is faster than 800-speed to a security officer for physical inspection to avoid being X-rayed.

Think before you speak.  Belligerent behavior, inappropriate jokes and threats will not be tolerated. They will result in delays and possibly missing your flight. Local law enforcement may be called as necessary.