Friday, March 30, 2012

Spring Forward! - Spring Break Travel Tips


I sit here on a cold March day, when only a few days ago I was running my air conditioner. Even with this back and forth weather, I’m getting a bit of the spring/summer fever and it reminds me that many folks are currently planning travel for spring break and the summer vacation season. So here are few travel tips and other information to help you spring forward through TSA checkpoints and get you to your destination safely.

The 4-1-1 on 3-1-1 (Liquids, Gels & Aerosols): If you’re checking a bag, make things simple by packing liquids in your checked luggage. That way, you don’t have to worry about the 3-1-1liquids rules.  But I know that doesn’t work for everyone; either your trip is a short one or you’re only bringing a carry-on bag.  If you have to take liquids in your carry-on, please continue reading… 3-1-1 is a quick way to remember how our liquids policy works. You can read here for more details, but here is the gist: each passenger is allowed to take as many 3.4 ounce or less sized containers that will fit in one sealed clear quart-sized zip-top bag – and one bag per person.   Make sure you take the zip-top bag out of your carry-on prior to sending it through the X-ray.
Here is some information on frequently asked liquid, aerosol and gel items:

  • Suntan & Sun Block Lotion: Lotions fall under the 3-1-1 procedures that I mentioned above. So do the aerosol spray lotions. Sunblock sticks do not fall under this rule.
  • Makeup: Any liquid makeup cosmetics such as eyeliner, nail polish, liquid foundation, etc. should be placed in the baggie. That goes for perfume as well. Powder makeup is fine.
  • Beverages: Wine, liquor, beer, and all of your other favorite beverages are permitted in your checked baggage. You can also  bring beverages packaged in 3.4 oz or less bottles in your carry-on bags in the 3-1-1 baggie.
Sporting Goods: Golf clubs, tennis rackets, baseball bats (including the mini slugger bats), cricket bats, bows and arrows, hockey sticks, scuba knives, spear guns, etc. are all prohibited from being carried onto the plane. However, you can have them checked as luggage.

Destination Weddings: Getting married soon? We’ve been asked about it a lot lately on our MyTSA app, so we wrote a post on it. Be sure to check it out for some great tips.

TSA Cares Helpline: TSA Cares is a new helpline number designed to assist  passengers with disabilities and medical conditions to call prior to traveling. Read more info here.

Spring Forward: If you haven’t moved you’re clock forward by now, you’ve been really late to a lot of things.

The MyTSA App: Our MyTSA App (available as an iPhone or mobile web app) amongst other great features has a “Can I Bring My…” tool. You can type in the name of the item you’re curious about and it tells you if the item is permitted or not. Wondering if you can take your bug repellant on the plane? Check the app to find out. A wait time feature is also available on our MyTSA application. It relies on crowd sourcing which means the more people who use it, the better. Spread the word, just like suntan lotion on your pale sun-deprived body.

Pat-Downs & Body Scanners: To reduce the need for a pat-down, the most important thing you can do is take everything out of your pockets before screening. You can put these items in your carry-on bag. Don't wear clothes with a high metal content, and put heavy jewelry on after you go through security. You will also receive a pat-down if you choose to opt out of our Advanced Imaging Technology. (Body Scanners) Check out this post to read some myths and facts about the pat-down.

Kids 12 & Under can Keep Their Shoes on: As part of our move towards a risk-based security approach, we rolled out revised screening procedures for passengers 12 and under that include leaving shoes on. Click here to learn more about the revisions. 

Taking Your Pet with You? We’d rather not pull a live bunny out of your bag; however, if you plan on traveling with animals please refer to our “Traveling with Pets” page or check with your airline carrier.

Camping, Hunting, or Fishing?: If you’re heading to the great outdoors, be sure to check out this post for tips on traveling with camping, hunting, and fishing gear.

Double Check Your Bag for Guns: Seriously!!! It sounds silly, but if you read our Week in Review posts, you’ll see that our officers find at least two guns every day somewhere in the U.S.. A good percentage of those were loaded. The most common excuse is that the passenger didn’t know or forgot it was in the bag. A good rule of thumb is if you do keep a gun in one of your everyday bags you use, be sure to double check it if plan on travelling with it.

Shaving Razors: You can get more info from our blog post on this subject where the pictures will answer all of your questions.

TSA Pre Expedited Screening: The TSA Pre™ initiative allows certain passengers flying domestically to get streamlined screening in select airports nationwide.  If you’ve been contacted by your participating airline (currently Delta and American, with others joining later) or if you’re a current member of one of CBP’s Trusted Traveler programs (Global Entry, NEXUS or SENTRI), be sure to opt in and follow the simple directions to become eligible for expedited screening.  Click here to learn more about where TSA Pre✓™ is and where it’s coming to.

Lost or Forgotten IDs:  We’ve gotten many calls from people who’ve had a wallet stolen or lost on a trip and have no ID for their return trip.  Don’t worry, if this happens to you, you’ll still be permitted to fly as long as you help us verify you are who you say you are by answering a few questions.  It’s wise to get to the airport a little earlier just to be safe.

 
If you’d like to comment on an unrelated topic you can do so in our Off Topic Comments post. You can also view our blog post archives or search our blog to find a related topic to comment in. If you have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact a Customer Support Manager at the airport you traveled, or will be traveling through by using Talk to TSA.

36 comments:

RB said...

Here's a better idea for the traveling public.

Go by any means other than air and take the things you rightly should be able to carry with you, things like water, juice, peanut butter, even a cupcake in a jar if you so desire.

Let the airlines know that TSA has ruined air travel and until TSA is done away with you won't need the airlines services.

Anonymous said...

The TSA is horrible. The sooner it is dismantled the better. Why do you expect respectful comments when you treat people like dirt every day?

Anonymous said...

RB I will just fly like I always do. Maybe if you traveled more, you would be a happier person. There are a lot of beautiful places in this world.

Anonymous said...

Blogger Bob,

Please get your facts right. Tennis racquets ARE permitted as a carry-on.

Anonymous said...

Annonymous said,
"please get your facts right. Tennis rackets ARE permitted as carry-on." A confirmation of TSA'S website and quick link provided by blogger Bob proves that TSA is inconsistent and does provide wrong information to the public. What else are you wrong about BOB? Privatize TSA and cut TSA upper management soon.

Anonymous said...

I have a question about beverages. I can easily fit a 12 oz can of beer in a quart sized bag. I am not allowed to carry that can through security. However, if I pour the 12 oz of liquid into four 3 oz bottles, I am allowed to take them through security. Why is that? It's the same amount of liquid and they both fit in the same magic quart size bag. It doesn't make sense.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
"RB I will just fly like I always do. Maybe if you traveled more, you would be a happier person. There are a lot of beautiful places in this world."

I can't speak for RB, but being abused by the TSA is not going to make me happier. It's a horrible way to start and and a vacation.

Lucky many beautiful places are within driving distance.

Anonymous said...

yea lets Privatize TSA but one problem with that. Tsa will be no more but look in to that a little deeper. They have to still follow all guidelines of tsa and all the same groping and stuff. why bother at all!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"I have a question about beverages. I can easily fit a 12 oz can of beer in a quart sized bag. I am not allowed to carry that can through security. However, if I pour the 12 oz of liquid into four 3 oz bottles, I am allowed to take them through security. Why is that? It's the same amount of liquid and they both fit in the same magic quart size bag. It doesn't make sense."

It isn't supposed to make sense. TSA procedures aren't about real security. They are about making people *feel* safer so they keep buying plane tickets.

After 9/11 airline travel dropped off because people were afraid. The TSA was created to make these people feel safer and start buying tickets again.

Brandon F said...

Something I can't figure out is if we are allowed a container such as a plastic water bottle that is larger than three ounces if it is empty of all liquid. I would love to have water to drink on the plane, but do not want to play $2+ for it inside the secure area. I have been told to throw this away in the past, so I have not tried to bring an empty bottle since then. What is the ruling?

Anonymous said...

Enough already...priviatizing TSA will not stop any of the issues you seem to be so up in arms about. Congress has madated the that TSA be in charge under DHS so if other airports go private they to must follow all of TSA policies, utilize all of TSA's rquipment use the same exact SOP etc....the only difference is they are generally paid more by private companies,and can still be hired/fired good and bad. So instead of trying to go private why don;t you work with your local congressman to provide better training, provide better guidleines, provide better options for disicplinary actions and encourage terminations to those who do not perform their jobs. I too work for TSA and would love to see better enforcement of officers who fail to live up to the standards TSA has set. The bar is high it just isn't enforced equitablly.

Anonymous said...

The peanut butter guy is pretty clueless. Everyone knows you're supposed to put the prohibited or dangerous item NEXT TO the liquids, gels, or aerosols, not INSIDE. That way, TSA would confiscate the liquid, gel, or aerosol item and let you go on your way.

Why I say this: con.st/276845

Anonymous said...

rb said:
"Let the airlines know that TSA has ruined air travel and until TSA is done away with you won't need the airlines services."

thats right and then we can have the government bail they out again with tax dollars. great idea rb, cost the tax payers even more!

Anonymous said...

you can always bring empty bottles through and fill them up on the other side.
just love to hear people complain about losin bottled water, like you have to buy water?!?!?!?!? or ask for some on the plane, get your money's worth

Anonymous said...

I don't understand the helpful hints on travel through the airlines. We're told rules are this and that, but when we get to the TSA guards, we're told they can create or destroy rules at will for the sake of security. What looks suspiciously as ineptitude is really clever security.

What's the point of the rules in the first place? Let's face it, airline security is no more that structured pandemonium.

Garrett S said...

I think the best advice is to always double check your bags to make sure you know what the overall policies are - even when traveling between countries. I had a friend whose medical scissors were approved through American security to Canada but on the way back into the US, they disposed of them. Be wary of the particular things, like reed knives for woodwind musicians and so forth. It's best to insure that you're prepared, so that you don't risk losing your possessions.

Anonymous said...

I think that there should be a separate airport/airlines for everyone that hates TSA and hates airport security. It should be a "fly at your own risk" airport & airline.

No one would have to go through security, you bring whatever you want on board - guns, knives, bombs, etc. becuase no one would know anyway since you didnt go through secutity, and if you make it to your destination safely = WIN! No HARASSMENT no INCONVINIENCE!

But if for some reason theres a problem on board, like another 9/11 situation, where the actual plane is used as a terroristic weapon of mass destruction, it will be shot down and the only ones DEAD are the ones who wanted to "risk it" = ANOTHER WIN!!!

Anonymous said...

I think that there should be a separate airport/airlines for everyone that hates TSA and hates airport security. It should be a "fly at your own risk" airport & airline.

No one would have to go through security, you bring whatever you want on board - guns, knives, bombs, etc. becuase no one would know anyway since you didnt go through secutity, and if you make it to your destination safely = WIN! No HARASSMENT no INCONVINIENCE!

But if for some reason theres a problem on board, like another 9/11 situation, where the actual plane is used as a terroristic weapon of mass destruction, it will be shot down and the only ones DEAD are the ones who wanted to "risk it" = ANOTHER WIN!!!

Kat said...

Blogger Bob:

It's nice to see that you, at least, know that the amount of liquids currents permitted is 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters. Unfortunately, airport signs and announcements do not reflect the policy. They still announce 3.0 ounces. No mention of the metric is made.

If the TSA has the money to put QR codes on the signs, they have the money to put 3.4 on the signs and in the announcements.

TSOs have enough trouble keeping their own regulations straight without having the wrong information droned into their ears all day. Please fix it.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"I think that there should be a separate airport/airlines for everyone that hates TSA and hates airport security. It should be a "fly at your own risk" airport & airline.
...
But if for some reason theres a problem on board, like another 9/11 situation, where the actual plane is used as a terroristic weapon of mass destruction, it will be shot down and the only ones DEAD are the ones who wanted to "risk it" = ANOTHER WIN!!!"

Actually, if several passengers are armed a 9/11 type situation would never happen. They were only successful because they were the only people with weapons.

RB said...

Anonymous said...
I think that there should be a separate airport/airlines for everyone that hates TSA and hates airport security. It should be a "fly at your own risk" airport & airline.

No one would have to go through security, you bring whatever you want on board - guns, knives, bombs, etc. becuase no one would know anyway since you didnt go through secutity, and if you make it to your destination safely = WIN! No HARASSMENT no INCONVINIENCE!

But if for some reason theres a problem on board, like another 9/11 situation, where the actual plane is used as a terroristic weapon of mass destruction, it will be shot down and the only ones DEAD are the ones who wanted to "risk it" = ANOTHER WIN!!!

April 3, 2012 6:42 PM
...................
The problem with your little scenareo is that the 9/11 hijackers only took permitted items with them that day. They had valid ID's and were screened at the standards in place.

Had cockpit doors been locked that day there would be no TSA infesting the United States as we have today.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

"Actually, if several passengers are armed a 9/11 type situation would never happen. They were only successful because they were the only people with weapons."

So if the underwear bomber, the shoe bomber, and bojinka plot bomber (the original/semi-successful liquid bomber), were all on board your airplane, without going security, please tell me first of all, how you would know who has the bombs, and what exactly would you do with your "weapons" as your airplane is exploding in mid air?

The underwear bomber and shoe bomber BOTH got their bombs on board but failed to detonate because of pure stupidity. The defeat was at the hands of their own.

One set his pants on fire, and got caught. The other tried to light his fuse, but it was moist. If both bombers had successfully lit their fuse, having a gun, a knife, or any other weapon would be rendered useless.

And last but not least, the Bojinka Plot bomber was semi successful bringing down a Philippine Airlines flight and killing one passenger. He just didnt have the right amount of "ounces" of liquid his explosive.

So i agree with the previous post. Create that airline and airport with no security. Take all the weapons you need to feel safe, and when the quiet "keeps to himself" homegrown terrorist (Richard Reid, Timothy McVeigh) is on board with you, GOD help you all.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"So i agree with the previous post. Create that airline and airport with no security. Take all the weapons you need to feel safe, and when the quiet "keeps to himself" homegrown terrorist (Richard Reid, Timothy McVeigh) is on board with you, GOD help you all."

The post you responded to referred to the 9/11 hijackers who were armed with knives. It didn't say it could be generalized to any terrorist.

If someone just wants to kill people they will find a way to do it. No amount of security screening will stop it. What security can help with is preventing someone from taking control of an airplane like 9/11. This is a very different goal and not what the TSA is doing.

Anonymous said...

wow even the airports in suadi arabia are not this paronoid from what my friend tells me.

Jaclyn Patterson said...

I'd be curious to see a post comparing and contrasting the recent Supreme Court decision that allows anyone who is arrested to be strip searched as that relates to TSA inspection rules.

Perhaps, the most interesting aspect (to me anyway) is how the various judges voted. Specifically the fact that the conservative judges voted in favor of a strip searches for anyone who is arrested (even for the most mundane of crimes). What's interesting about this is that the same side of the political aisle that wants less government interference when going through an airport also ruled that anyone arrested (keep in mind that a lot of people who are arrested are not guilty of any crimes) can be strip searched.

On an unrelated note, I'm glad I stumbled across this blog and the interesting conversation that's going on here. I suppose that I'm not surprised that there are so many people with opinions about TSA.

As someone who travels often, I can just say that every TSA person that I've actually spoken to has been a very nice person.

Anonymous said...

you can carry on a tennis racquet. says so on the TSA website.

Anonymous said...

Try to find a mens spray deodorant in 3.4--impossible. 4.0 oz is standard. Also, why am I being pat down AFTER I already went through full body scan--AND no alarms sounded?

Anonymous said...

Listen. Do you guys think complaining will do anything about this? They do this to keep YOU safe. To keep your family or kids SAFE! And you dont want that? You guys are sad. I bet every single person who lost their life in 9/11 would have loved to have more secerity. It could have just saved their lives. Children lost parents. Parents lost children. Family lost family. And maybe just maybe if all this was there back then it wouldnt have happened. That would have save the USA a war. It would have save 1000s of lives. Im dissapointed with everyone complaining. Because this is all done for you.

Therese Jameson said...

I agree. I mean we are all entitled to our own opinion but before we complain, let's try to have an open mind first and know what is the objective here. They're just doing us a favor by keeping us safe and I think it's only right so we can all avoid unfortunate things to happen. We will go on a spring break vacation soon in a beach holiday apartment in Australia and I hope it will be a smooth travel for us.

Kim said...

As someone who gets pulled aside each and every time I fly, I don't even bother whining about it. TSA has gotten better about scanning you that is for sure. I have a total replaced knee and I still get the pat down each time. I tell them my knee will go beep beep.. So I stand there with my arms out waiting for them to hear what I told them will happen.
They have ones in some airports that have a total hands off scan. So much nicer than to have some strange woman pat you down.

About what you can take in carry-on? If you aren't sure, why not put it in your luggage instead? And putting things in baggies is the best idea. If it breaks it doesn't get all over the place.
We are stuck with TSA, why not make their day a little better and smile, don't whine and just let them do their jobs?

Anonymous said...

Tennis fans, tennis rackets ARE permitted as carry-ons (as of 4/23/2013), here's link to TSA's document:
http://www.tsa.gov/sites/default/files/publications/pdf/prohibited_items_brochure.pdf

You can navigate to this via:
http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/prohibited-items, and then look for the Prohibited Items brochure

Anonymous said...

As a 28 year veteran captain with a major airline, I can tell you in no uncertain terms that the TSA is your friend. They are light years better than the pre 911 lame excuse for security. The captain on one of the 4 hijacked 911 aircraft was a friend and college mate of mine and I am sure he would tell you the same were he still alive. My advice is to quit whining about it, take a trip to Central or South America, the Middle East or Africa and see just what it is to live in those conditions and then come back to a country that you can appreciate.

Unknown said...

As a 28 year veteran of being 54 years old, who was born 82 years ago and understands A LOT - the search and seizure that goes on just to board an airplane is wrong and stupid. There are FAR better solutions that are not only less intrusive but are more effective.

Nathan Cloud said...

I have 50ml (about 1.7oz) bottles of liquor that adhere to the 3-1-1 rule. Is TSA going to try and tell me I can't take them?

Anonymous said...

I have some 1.7 oz bottle of liquor that adhere to the 3-1-1 rule. Is TSA going to try and confiscate them?

Cristy Robbins said...

Luckily (so far), travelling with my Mirabella makeup kits hasn't gotten me delayed or anything... yet. I always carry a lot of stuff with me. If it weren't a bunch of boxes, it would be my makeup kits. I've gotten used to what the TSA wants, I can zip in and out of checkpoints. lol...