The Transportation Security Administration (“TSA”) has worked hard to develop protocols to ensure the safety of passengers and crew on airline flights. Many of the delays at airport security checkpoints are caused by people not being aware of rules and regulations regarding carry on baggage.
Air Travel Tips
No matter what, airline travelers must leave plenty of time to arrive and check in to the airport.
- Leave extra time to get to the airport; traffic can be unpredictable.
- Plan to arrive at least two hours before boarding.
- Expect to wait at the terminal before boarding. Bring a book.
Etiquette makes a big difference when travelling.
- Be polite and respectful to airport security personnel. “Hello” and “thank you” are appropriate.
- Have ID and boarding pass ready to show security officers at the front of the checkpoint.
- Be prepared to remove shoes, belts, watches and jewelry. Bring socks or cloth ballet flats for comfort.
- Answer questions in a polite and forthright manner.
- Comply easily with reasonable requests, such as “please do not help me open your bag.” Reasonable: that which does not cause bodily harm.
Security guards note passenger affect.
- Remain calm while going through security.
- Do not be pushy or try to rush security personnel; remember to leave extra time in case of delays.
- Being overly anxious or nervous sends a red flag to security officers.
Travel Tips for Packing: How to Pack a Suitcase
- The best suitcases have wheels and retractable handles. These are popular because they do not cause arm, shoulder, or back strain.
- Folded clothing takes up less space in a suitcase.
- Have anything that will need to go through airline security x-ray machines separately stored in outside pockets for quick and easy removal and replacement.
Toiletries and Plastic Bottles
For carry on baggage:
- Any individual toiletry must be in a 3.5 oz container.
- Instead of buying expensive travel size toiletries, purchase inexpensive travel bottles and pour shampoo, etc into these.
- All small bottles of toiletries must fit together in a quart size baggie. No passenger is allowed more than one quart of liquids.
- Pack toiletries in a quart size ziploc baggie, and place baggie in outside pocket of suitcase. Baggie will be x-rayed separately.
- Larger plastic bottles will not be allowed through airport security. If bringing drinking water, either bring a metal container or purchase drinking water after clearing airport security.
Family Travel Advice
So many families travel at holiday time. Airlines are large, busy, fast, and easy to get lost in.
- Keep the family together at all costs. If anything gets lost, let it be luggage. Luggage is replaceable.
- Dress children alike. When families dress in similar outfits it sends a message that they are taking extra steps to stay together. Nothing, however, takes the place of holding a child’s hand.
- Have children’s birth certificates, passports, or appropriate identification on hand.
- Check luggage even if it could be carried on board. This leaves parents with less things to keep track of.
- Make sure each child has something to do in the airport. This could be a book to read, a small box of crayons and coloring book, or a favorite toy. Put crayons or markers in a ziploc baggie to avoid the trauma of losing them.
- Give each child a small backpack to keep their own books or toys in.
- Expect to read to or play with children while waiting in the airport. Do not expect them to entertain themselves the entire time.
- Have extra cash on hand for water and snacks. Passengers are limited as to what they can bring through security.
Traveling With Infants
While it is not legally necessary (yet), babies on airplanes are safest in five point harness car seats facing backwards. Small children sitting in parents’ laps are at risk of being thrown about the aircraft during turbulence or emergency.
- Purchase a window seat for an infant, and bring the child’s car seat on board. A car seat is only allowed in the window seat.
- Use the plane’s seat belt to attach car seat to plane seat.
- Another option is to attach the child to the parent with a sling or other baby-wearing device. There are such cloth devices available specifically for little ones riding on a lap in an airplane. This may be more comfortable than using the sling that one wears while standing and walking.
Plan ahead so the whole family enjoys holiday travel.