I'm a frequent flyer. Okay for those of you who know me or follow this blog regularly, you know that's an understatement.
This month I'm a really frequent flyer.
My travels between Dec 21st and Jan 21st are as follows:
DFW - IAD (Dec 21)
IAD - DFW (Dec 24)
DFW - SAT (Dec 25)
SAT - DFW (Dec 27)
DFW - LHR (Dec 27)
LHR - IAD (Jan 4)
DCA - DFW (Jan 5)
DFW - IAD (Jan 19)
BWI - DFW (Jan 21)
But I'm not using this post to brag about all the frequent flyer miles I'm getting on American (okay all of these flights except LHR - IAD are on AA, that one is on BA -- and they code share with AA)... I'm using this post to talk about the security check point.
It seems that when people check their luggage, they also check their brains and then they totally hold us all up at security. Sooo for that reason I have my list of 5 things not to forget to make your journey through security faster and less painful. (Now if only you could convince the people in front of you to do this as well).
1. It's not a secret, that you will have to show your boarding pass and government issued ID at the checkpoint. Get them out and get them ready! When you reach the agent is not the time to look through your bag for them. And no, your library card, credit card, school ID and/or Costco card does not count as a government issued ID for these purposes!
2. One is always advised to wear their bulkiest clothes on the flight because it frees up space in your suitcase. Those boots are cute, but lets face it, you have to take them off in the US (disclaimer - not all international checkpoints will make you take off your boots). Loafers or sneakers (trainers for you Brits) slip on and off much easier. AS for taking other things off....don't forget: outer layer jacket/sweater (jumper), belt, jewelry, hats, metal hair clips and well just about anything! Plus once you've stripped down, check your pockets!
3. The rule is 3-1-1. That's 3oz (okay 100ml or 3.4oz) in a 1 quart bag at a ratio of 1 per person. If it can be poured, smeared, sloshed or spread it needs to follow these rules. The 1 quart bag should be transparent. Sometimes in the US they aren't so picky about that, but once I was held up in Ireland because my bag was translucent with a very thin gridding. And in the US, as well as UK that baggie needs to be taken OUT of your carry on and put into the plastic bucket where it can be visually examined if they wish.
4. Laptops, iPads.... they need to be out! Unless it's a TSA approved case, it needs to be out of the case. In the US they take it a step further and usually want you to put it in it's own separate plastic bin for scanning. That being said, cameras, ipods, kindles etc don't have to be out. I don't know about other brand tablets, but I'd say treat it like an iPad. Or ask - it's better to ask than to have to be rescanned.
5. Drinks in the airport cost an arm and a leg. But even if you have only a few sips left of your 20oz coke, you can't take it through. In fact, in some countries you can't even take the empty bottles through. However, that being said, you CAN take your own food. Disclaimer: if the food is cheese, they may want to see it up close because it looks like explosive 'cheese' under x-ray. Disclaimer 2: Cut up fruit often produces it's own juice and that may not be allowed!
So if we can all learn these things and be prepared, it would make security easier - wouldn't it?!?
A few other pointers that may make things easier for you and those around you:
a. Try to avoid getting behind a family in the security line. They just take longer.
b. Are you under the age of 12 or over the age of 75? You don't need to take off your shoes!
c. Are you a snow globe fan? As of just last week, you may now bring in a snow globe up to the size of a tennis ball. (you might want to bring your own tennis ball to prove size comparison!)
d. Smile and say thank you to the agents. They get treated with disrespect all day. They do appreciate the random friendliness and kindness.
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