Airport security screenings have become more intense in recent years and the rules governing what passengers can and cannot bring onboard an airplane have changed. Yet, if you have not flown recently, you may be unaware of just how stringent those rules have become.
Failing to prepare for the increased scrutiny by the Transportation Security Agency (TSA)could mean you will be in for an unpleasant surprise when you arrive at the airport. Instead of letting TSA scrutiny ruin your trip or make you miss your flight, use the following tips to stay ahead of the game and breeze through even the toughest airport security.
Check with Your Airline Before You Leave
The best way to get up-to-the-minute information on airport security screenings and rule changes is to check with your airline. Flight providers have a vested interest in helping their passengers stay safe while avoiding hassles, and they can provide detailed information on what to pack and what can and cannot be carried onboard the aircraft.
You may want to double-check with the airline before you start packing, even if you got detailed information when you first made your reservation. TSA rules are a moving target in the best of times, and a single security incident could cause those already stringent carry-on rules to become even stricter.
Know Airport Security Rules on Electronics
You may know that the TSA screeners will want you to take out, and possibly even power up, your laptop before you reach the screening checkpoint, but it is just as important to know the rules governing other electronics.
For instance, you do not generally need to remove smartphones, tablets and similar gadgets from your carry-on luggage, briefcase or purse. You will need to remove these items from your pockets prior to walking through the metal detector or full body scanner, however.The TSA agent may still ask you to remove small electronics if they cannot be seen clearly by the screening machine. The agent will notify you if any of the electronics in your carry-on bag require extra scrutiny.
Choose A Bag that Meets TSA Guidelines
If you plan to frequently travel with your laptop, you might want to invest in a TSA-approved laptop bag. These bags are designed to let the TSA agent clearly see everything inside, including your laptop.
If you do have a TSA-approved laptop bag, you generally will not have to remove the laptop before passing it through airport security. The reduction in hassles alone could be well worth the cost.
Not all laptop bags meet the TSA guidelines, so shop carefully. In order to qualify, the laptop bag must be capable of folding flat so that chargers, cables and anything else that could obscure the screening picture is kept out of the way. The manufacturer will typically label such laptop bags as TSA friendly, checkpoint friendly or security friendly, making the shopping process a little easier.
It’s impossible to completely remove the hassles associated with travel in the modern age, and the glamorous days of fun in the skies are gone forever. Even so, packing smart and knowing the rules can make dealing with the TSA at least a little easier. Make sure you get through the airport even easier by keeping up-to-date with TSA regulations, including TSA’s New Body Scanner Rules.