TSA Offers Travel Safety Tips for the Holidays (or any time you fly)

Airports will be busy during Christmas, New Year’s and – in the U.S. – Thanksgiving. Let’s make it simple to get in and out of the airport as quickly as possible. Problems slow you down and in worse case scenarios can mean missing a flight. Or starting a fire.

TSA Travel Tips

The TSA always says, “If you see something, say something” and this can refer to unattended bags, people attempting to enter restricted areas and more. What follows are practical tips all travelers can put into practice to avoid traffic jams at checkpoints.

  • Don’t bring a weapon or other dangerous items. If this sounds incredibly obvious, check out the TSA blog sometime. In a single week in November, officers confiscated 61 firearms and 54 of them were loaded. Most of the offenders said they forgot the gun was in the bag. Also prohibited: Knives, anything potentially explosive and even replicas of weapons. Don’t forget such innocuous items as ‘strike-anywhere’ matches, either; some were packed in a checked-bag in the Anchorage airport when the suitcase suddenly burst into flames.
  • Watch liquids or anything ‘goopy’. Goopy is the word we use for stuff like homemade cranberry sauce, salsas, jams, jellies, even peanut butter; such items will not pass the liquid rule. Pies and other baked goods are OK, but when it comes to a bottle of water or a jar of Grandma’s special jelly, if it’s in a container bigger than 3.4 ounces, it will get tossed.
  • Avoid certain souvenirs and gifts: Snow globes are fine as long as they’re not bigger than a baseball. Bottles of wine, no, unless packed in a checked-bag – but pack carefully! Wrapped gifts are allowed but may have to be opened, so wait to wrap them at your destination.
  • Don’t forget the zip bag. Small liquid items of approved size must be placed in one of those small quart-size zip bags if you’re packing them in a carry-on.
  • Sign up for PreCheck. You will skip the longest lines and keep your shoes on. It’s only $85 for five years, and worth it. If you’re in the military, it’s free.
  • Sign up for Global Entry: This provides access to short lines when returning to the U.S. and costs $100 for five years. [Editor’s note: worth every penny] Bonus: When you sign up for Global Entry, you get PreCheck for free.

More questions? Try the TSA app called, “When I fly can I bring my ?” which can be found on the TSA website.

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Updated: November 20, 2015