Here in America, Thanksgiving is more than Turkey and all the fixings, it also means delays and long lines at the airport. The number of Americans traveling by air this holiday season is expected to increase by 3% based on TSA report, which raises concerns about airport checkpoints. Even though TSA plans to fully staff airports, many newbies and infrequent flyers many slow the process down. Here are some tips to save time at the airport checkpoint.
- Arrive early at the airport. Leave time to park the car, check-in bags, print boarding passes and of course, go through the checkpoint. TSA recommends you arrive at the airport at least 2 hours prior to flight departure, if you are not TSA approved. To get a TSA PreCheck, go to http://travel-authority.org.
- Pack Smart by Preparing for Security. TSA advises you to check-in all large bottled liquids like lotion, shampoo and shaving cream. If you are unsure of what to carry on, TSA offers When I fly, I can bring my (type item) to help you. Bottom line, plan ahead.
- Remember the Liquid Rule. You can bring on board up to 3.4 ounces in a 1-quart clear plastic bag, which is limited to 1 bag per person. This rule applies to lotions, gels, creams, sunblock and sprays. If you have large quantities of baby formula or breast milk and medications, notify the TSA Officer as soon as possible. Remember these numbers: 3-1-1
- Be Prepared. Be ready to present an acceptable photo ID and boarding pass to the TSA officer. Don’t wait until you are in the front of the line to dig down in your bag. Remove all items from your pockets, which includes basic items like gum, mints and even tissues before you reach the screeners.
- Take Off Shoes and Belts in Advance. As you approach the checkpoint, take off shoes and belt, and place them in a bin. You may want to consider slip on shoes to easily take them on and off while moving through the screening process. Children 12 and under do not need to take off their shoes.
- Bringing the Fruit Cake. If you are attending a potluck Thanksgiving dinner or would like to bring a special food item from your home town, TSA permits foods, but check TSA carry-on and checked list. https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/prohibited-items.
- Consider Carrying an Empty Bottle. Travelers continue to travel with water and beverages over the 3.4 ounce limit in their carry-on luggage. For those of you who want to bring your own water, TSA recommends bringing an empty bottle and filling up the bottle after you pass the checkpoint at a water fountain or purchase water at one of the vendors in the terminal.
- Each Laptop Goes in a Separate Bin. TSA has noticed that travelers are carrying more than one laptop through checkpoints. Travelers must place each laptop in a separate bin, otherwise, the laptop will have to be inspected and sent through security screen twice.
- Holiday Gifts. TSA allows wrapped gifts, but they discourage it. If the screener detects an item in the gift that requires further inspection, they will have to unwrap the gift. The officers do their best not to mangle the gift wrap, but TSA does not guarantee it. This slows down the process significantly. Wrap your gifts once you arrive and avoid any unnecessary delays.
- Check Bins Before Leaving the Checkpoint. After leaving the checkpoint area, travelers should check their bins. Travelers often leave behind loose change, laptops, cameras, phones and those very special gifts.
In the end, have a plan. Check and double check your bags before you leave for the airport and leave plenty of time before your flight departure. For some travelers, anticipate delays and bring items in your check-in bags to occupy your time or take advantage of terminal services. Get a massage! You deserve it! ~ Travel wisely