Nobody looks forward to the TSA security screening. This dreaded part of airport travel can be long, uncomfortable, and embarrassing. The TSA has many rules and regulations but not all of them are intuitive to the average traveler. A lot of people are unaware of various programs they can pre-qualify for, in order to make the airport security process easier and quicker. Additionally, being familiar with TSA rules and regulations will enable you to pack accordingly and not be the one causing delays because of a water bottle or a pair of scissors.
The first rule of an efficient passing through security, is the liquid rule. This should be taken into account before you even pack your bags so you are sure everything is arranged according to TSA policy. The TSA permits a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes in your carry-on bag and through the checkpoint. These are limited to travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item. Many of the big box retailers, like Target and Walmart, sell containers that meet the TSA criteria, so you don’t have to purchase new cosmetics and soaps. Additionally, if you are bringing a checked bag you can pack your liquids without having to worry about these restrictions.
Next, you have to make sure you are not bringing anything that would be considered dangerous. The TSA has a helpful website that allows you to search for any item and see if it is allowed on your carry on or checked bag. If you think something that is being packed might pose a risk, take the time to verify it is allowed. Otherwise, you will be stuck either throwing it away or trying to coordinate shipping it back home. Finally, you will be required to remove you belt and shoes, so be sure to pick comfortable and easily removable accessories.
There is a way to avoid some of the hassle when arriving at the security line.T SA has a program called TSA Pre-check that allows low-risk travelers to go through an expedited security screening. Completing the TSA Pre-check process will enable you to leave on your belt, shoes, and light jacket while going through security. It also exempts you from removing your laptop and liquids from your carry on. Perhaps the biggest benefit of TSA Pre-check is the time savings. Average lines for TSA pre-check are significantly shorter than the regular security lines and 96% of members waited 5 minutes or less. Enrolling in TSA Pre-check is easy! First you complete a brief online survey, located here. After submitting your application, you will get to schedule an in-person interview at one of the 380 enrollment centers nationwide. During this interview, a background check will be performed and your fingerprints will be taken. If approved, you will then be part of the TSA Pre-check and qualify for all the benefits listed above. There is a small $85 application fee but many credit card companies with rewards programs offer discounts and promotions to cover it. Making your way through security can be an inconvenience but when equipped with knowledge of the procedures, it is much easier to ensure the process goes smoothly. Whether it is packing correctly, choosing the right wardrobe for the security screening or even joining TSA Pre-check, there are plenty of ways to make the process easier!