How to Get Through the Line Faster – TSA Tips
By: John Gobbels, Medjet VP/COO
A few weeks ago I was making a trip to the West Coast when I encountered a flyer that delayed the security screening line due to an unbelievable pack job on her carry-on bag. From bottles of water to her laptop at the bottom of her carry-on, it seemed to never end.
Pack an organized carry-on bag using layers – a layer of clothes, then electronic, more clothes and then any heavier items. This will help transportation security officers see what’s in your bag. Innocent items can actually appear to be potential threats in an X-ray image, simply by the way they’re packed.
Prepare your 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag of liquids before arriving at the airport.
Pack all your coats and jackets in your checked baggage when possible. All coats and jackets must go through the X-ray machine for inspection.
When in doubt, leave it out. If you’re not sure about whether you can bring an item through the checkpoint, put it in your checked bag or leave it at home.
Transportation security officers have to identify any metal that is detected at the checkpoint. If the metal detector alarms when you pass through, you will be required to undergo additional screening. This includes a hand-wand and pat-down inspection.
Items that might set off an alarm on the metal detector include:
- Keys, loose change, mobile phones, pagers, money clips and personal data assistants (PDAs)
- Heavy jewelry (including pins, necklaces, bracelets, rings, watches, earrings, body piercings, cuff links, lanyards or bolo ties)
- Clothing with metal buttons, snaps or studs
- Metal hair barrettes or other hair decoration
- Belt buckles
- Under-wire bras
- Body Piercings. Certain metal body piercings may cause you to alarm at the metal detector, which will result in you getting additional screening. If additional screening is required, you may ask to remove your body piercing in private as an alternative to the pat-down search.
- Head Coverings. You are permitted to wear head coverings and religious garments during the screening process. You may be directed to additional screening if your headwear or clothing (religious or otherwise) is loose fitting or large enough to hide prohibited items.
- Shoes. Travelers are required to remove their shoes before entering the walk-through metal detector at all U.S. airports and put them through the x-ray machine for inspection. This allows officers to see if the shoes have been tampered with in any way.
The items you’ll need to present to a Transportation Security Officer at the checkpoint are:
- Boarding pass
It’s encouraged that each adult traveler keep his/her airline boarding pass and government-issued photo ID available until exiting the security checkpoint (children are not required to show identification).
If you do not have identification (if it is lost or stolen as my wife’s was on the west coast trip), you will be required to provide the document checking officer with some information to help verify your identity (we needed the police report). This will slow down your screening process and will result in additional screening.
Hopefully some of these tips will decrease the frustration of the screening process and make its transition faster for you and THOSE behind you!