As travelers prepare for their airline travel this holiday season, the concerns about how hectic it will be at the airport are higher than usual. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has started to roll out its new full-body scanners, called Advanced Imaging Technology, which have generated buzz and controversy among privacy rights advocates concerned about passengers revealing too much for TSA officials. Regardless of whether you and your traveling companions are subjected to this new technology, getting through security is always a process that takes patience and time. Below are some tips you can use every time you travel to make the security line a little less painful.
Have Your Paperwork Prepared
The most important thing about going through security to be efficient. Many people check into their flight to get their boarding pass using their identification and then put both away, forgetting they're both needed to get through security. Not having your boarding pass and ID ready upon entering security can delay you as you search your pockets or bags for them; lack of proper papers might also cause you to look suspect and make you a bigger target for an additional screening.
Wear the Right Clothes
Yes, you want to be comfortable for your flight, or perhaps you're a business traveler who must wear a suit for travel, but no matter what your clothing looks like, make sure it complies with TSA standards to avoid an unnecessary (and maybe even embarrassing) pat-down because you made the scanner go off. Avoid clothing with metal; think buttons, zippers, hooks. Wear clothing layers and shoes that are easy and fast to take on and off. Also, if you're wearing heavy jewelry, hair clips, a belt buckle or even an underwire bra, remove them, because all of these items might set off the scanner.
Step Up and Be Ready
The above items should be removed, but there are plenty of other things you need take out of your pockets before you walk on through. Don’t forget to discard of your loose pocket change, cell phone and keys. To keep things at a good pace, take care of this while waiting on line by putting all of these items in a separate plastic bag or your carry on. Make sure you have also removed all layers, including your coat. Of course, you must also take off your shoes. As mentioned above, wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off -- not complex boots with strings, buckles and zippers that will hold up the line.
All travelers with a laptop must take it out of its carry case unless it is held in a special, TSA-approved laptop carrier. Your laptop must be placed in a separate bin without any other items. Try to prepare and do this before you reach the front of the line.
Since August of 2006, quantities of liquid larger than 3 ounces have been banned from flights. The obvious thing here is that when going through airport security, you shouldn’t have a large bottle of shampoo stuffed into your carry-on. In addition to each bottle being limited to 3 ounces, the total amount of liquids is also restricted to one quart and must fit into a 20 centimeter square zip-top bag. Prepare the liquids you plan to bring onboard at home before you depart for the airport and keep in mind, especially if you're checking a bag that can accmodate your toiletries, that you should only carry on the liquids that you will need onboard.
Of course, even after all of these tips, the best advice is to arrive with ample time. Just because you are prepared doesn’t mean that the people ahead of you in the security line will be, and they could possibly delay you. You may also be pegged for a random search and be held up despite your efforts. If you give yourself the extra time, there should be no stress for catching your flight.
To get the latest updates on TSA secuirty information visit http://www.tsa.gov.