Tuesday, August 27, 2013

TSA Travel Tips Tuesday - Download the MyTSA App Today



MyTSA Screenshots (Click to Enlarge)
Today’s travel tip is to consider downloading the MyTSA App. Why? Why not? It is extremely helpful and it is free.

So why did TSA create an app? Here are several factors that convinced us that it would be a good idea:
 
Many travelers rely on mobile technology when they travel. Questions regularly pop up at the last minute when you are away from your laptop or home computer.

Questions such as:

  • What ID can I use?
  • I lost my ID, can I still fly?
  • Are there delays at the airport?
  • How long is the line at security?
  • What can I pack for my child?

TSA created the MyTSA app with all of these questions in mind. With the app, you have the following tools all within the reach of your smartphone:

  • Crowd-sourced wait times
  • Travel tips
  • Information on prohibited items and packing tips
  • Airport delays and weather
  • Contact Center information 

With ongoing feedback, our app keeps improving. Here are our latest updates:

  • The new home screen now includes buttons for the two most popular functions, “Can I Bring my __________” and wait times so you don’t have to navigate to get to them.
  • Streamlined navigation with one icon in the top left of the screen.  Just tap to see a menu of items on the app. 
  • For TSA Pre™ users – airports with TSA Pre™ are identified with the TSA Pre  icon.  If you tap the icon, a pop-up box will note what checkpoint to go to for expedited screening and what airlines are operational with TSA Pre™ at that airport.

The app’s “Can I Bring my _________? ” feature enables you to type in a certain item to see if it’s permitted by TSA.  It has more than 3,500 items in the database, many submitted by passengers.  When using this feature on the app, after you type the first three letters of the word, you’ll see a pop-up menu of potential matches. Look for the item you want and click on it, or type the whole word and you’ll get an answer.  If you don’t get any options that pop up or get the “Item Not Found” response, it could be because you misspelled the word in the first three letters, or used unnecessary adjectives or qualifiers with the item. 

Here are some tips to help you get the most out of the “Can I Bring.” tool: 

  • If you want to know if you can bring your knitting needles, you do not need to type “my knitting needles,” or include the brand name of the knitting needles, or how many knitting needles you are packing.  Just type “knitting needles.” If you’re packing toys, just type in “light saber” – no need for “my son’s light saber.”  (This happens quite a bit, and it will result in getting the “Item Not Found” response instead of the answer that light sabers are allowed.)
  • For liquids, you don’t have to type in the size of the container, such as “12 ounce bottle of shampoo.”  Just type “shampoo” and the answer will explain the rule for packing liquids, aerosols and gels tell you what you can bring through the checkpoint and what has to be packed in a checked bag.

Get the My TSA mobile app, available for iPhone on iTunes, Android on Google Play, and for other smartphones at www.tsa.gov/mobile 

Visit the TSA website to get the most up to date information before you travel: www.tsa.gov The TSA Blog:  http://blog.tsa.gov  


Follow @TSABlogTeam on Twitter and Instagram!


If you have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact us by clicking here.    

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Will the app tell me why I have to remove my shoes in the US, but not have to remove them in other countries? The flights in other countries seem to be just as safe without any incidents. Why are we still removing our shoes in this country?

John Domutz - Detroit, MI said...

Can you check and tell me if this app is programmed to work fully on my BlackBerry Q10? I was able to view security wait times at DTW, so that is nice. The other links in the list did not seem to work when I clicked on them. Am I doing everything right?

Melissa Newman said...

I believe that can be a useful app, many passengers, including myself, have many travel/airport related questions as there are so many rules now days is impossible to keep up with it. Thanks for the app.

RB said...

Can TSA screeners use the app so they know that cupcakes are allowed, or that mothers milk is ok, or about any of the other thousands errors made by TSA screeners daily?

Anonymous said...

Does the app explain why liquid deodorant is not OK over 100 mL but stick is? I really want to understand this, but no one explains it to me.

Anonymous said...

Why would anyone give the US gov't, especially a part of DHS known for invading the privacy of flyers and overreaching the mission assigned to them by Congress, access to his phone?

How often is the app updated? Will a screener accept it as the actual SOP when he tries to deny "allowed" items or will he claim it's out of date or "we do it different [sic] here!"?

Will it tell flyers what their rights are when faced by screeners who want to unnecessarily assault them or tear apart their luggage? Does it include a comment form so people can report good or bad behavior on the spot? How about a list of airports where flyers can go through metal detectors instead of having nude photos taken of them?

How accurate and specific is your screening wait times? I can get that information from my airport's website without having to install your app.

Sad how you praise your app while being condescending to potential users in the "Can I bring..." section. I hope your job doesn't involve writing training materials.

Also, you can try to rewrite history by using "light saber" as an "allowed" example, but we haven't forgotten how a child had a lightsaber toy seized by a screener, as well as when screeners recently tried to seize Peter Mayhew's lightsaber cane.

(BTW, it is spelled "lightsaber," not "light saber." If you want to play your games, at least spell the words right.)

No way will I ever put your app on my phone.

Anonymous said...

Instead of imposing so many restrictions that you think an app is necessary to keep track of things, why not ease the many pointless rules you've imposed out of panic and fear and stupidity?

Anonymous said...

Does this app need access to my phonebook, phone calls, mic, camera, photos, and GPS? Because that's not a problem at all.

Anonymous said...



Why would anyone give the US gov't, especially a part of DHS known for invading the privacy of flyers and overreaching the mission assigned to them by Congress, access to his phone?

How often is the app updated? Will a screener accept it as the actual SOP when he tries to deny "allowed" items or will he claim it's out of date or "we do it different [sic] here!"?

Will it tell flyers what their rights are when faced by screeners who want to unnecessarily assault them or tear apart their luggage? Does it include a comment form so people can report good or bad behavior on the spot? How about a list of airports where flyers can go through metal detectors instead of having nude photos taken of them?

How accurate and specific is your screening wait times? I can get that information from my airport's website without having to install your app.

Sad how you praise your app while being condescending to potential users in the "Can I bring..." section. I hope your job doesn't involve writing training materials.

Also, you can try to rewrite history by using "light saber" as an "allowed" example, but we haven't forgotten how a child had a lightsaber toy seized by a screener, as well as when screeners recently tried to seize Peter Mayhew's lightsaber cane.

(BTW, it is spelled "lightsaber," not "light saber." If you want to play your games, at least spell the words right.)

No way will I ever put your app on my phone.
August 28, 2013 at 7:07 AM

Lynn said...

John in Detroit:

We do not have a Blackberry app for MyTSA, but you should be able to use the mobile web version of the app and have most of the functionality, including the Can I Bring, Guide and wait times features. I have a different model than you, but I can use most of the tools on the app. It will look different, but it's functional. We'll check on our end to make sure everything is okay. We appreciate you letting us know.

Fred Klein said...

Does the app tell us what to do when the screeners insist that the app is out-of-date (or simply wrong), and refuse to let us take an allowed item through??

Does the app tell us what to do when a screener steals the phone with the app on it??

Anonymous said...

Lynn,

Since you do seem to be able to answer some questions, could you please answer mine?

Why is over 100 mL liquid deodorant not OK, while stick is? You claim liquids are dangerous because you can´t tell if they aren´t explosives. How can you tell that the stick deodorant isn´t an explosive? Explosives can be solids too, after all (I know that)

I would greatly appreciate an answer, because I find it very hard to accept rules that make no sense to me.

Anonymous said...

Long lines, conflicting complicated rules, phone applications, the threat of getting a TSO having a bad day. Traveling has become more about the process than the destination.

How long before some TSO says, "I don't care what your phone app says, I say blah blah blah..." and we read about it here?

Lynn said...

To Anonymous with the Deodorant Question:

Happy to answer your question. In 2006, TSA and other airport security agencies around the world enacted rules to limit the amount of liquids, aerosols and gels in carry-on bags after The UK foild a plot to use liquid explosives on airplanes. Liquids in excess of 3.4 oz/100ml must be packed in a checked bag. To answer your question, roll-on and spray deodorant are liquids/aerosols, and fall under that rule. Stick, or solid, deodorant does not fall under the liquids rule, because it's not a liquid, gel or aerosol. You can pack stick deodorant in your carry-on bag without a size restriction. Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

Question: can I fly while brown? Bc apparently some can't.

Anonymous said...

Hey Lynn, don't I get a reply?

Your biggest Anonymous fan

Wintermute said...

Lynn said...
To Anonymous with the Deodorant Question:

Happy to answer your question. In 2006, TSA and other airport security agencies around the world enacted rules to limit the amount of liquids, aerosols and gels in carry-on bags after The UK foild a plot to use liquid explosives on airplanes. Liquids in excess of 3.4 oz/100ml must be packed in a checked bag. To answer your question, roll-on and spray deodorant are liquids/aerosols, and fall under that rule. Stick, or solid, deodorant does not fall under the liquids rule, because it's not a liquid, gel or aerosol. You can pack stick deodorant in your carry-on bag without a size restriction. Hope this helps.


I'm not the person who asked, but, first and foremost, you did not answer the question.

Also, about said liquids plot: A) it was foiled by good, old-fashioned, intelligence work, B) it was NOT viable, and C) for the above reasons, everywhere else has eased the restrictions, why hasn't TSA?

Anonymous said...

Lynn,

You did not answer my deodorant question (which was also not posted when I insisted on it a second time). You just restated that liquids are not OK over 100 mL, while stick deodorant is. I know that. I did not ask what the liquid rules are or when they were adopted. What I want to know is why this is so.

You claim you have to limit liquids because you don´t know if they are explosives. How do you know my stick deodorant isn´t an explosive? Or do you not believe that solids can ever be explosives? Again, why is the state of matter the point here, when explosives come in all states of matter?

I find it very hard to follow rules that make no sense. Please help me out here.

Anonymous said...

"Happy to answer your question. In 2006, TSA and other airport security agencies around the world enacted rules to limit the amount of liquids, aerosols and gels in carry-on bags after The UK foild a plot to use liquid explosives on airplanes."

Now, now Lynn. You forgot to mention that the plotters didn't even have plane tickets, let alone liquid explosives, and that there's just no good science justifying your liquids policies. You also didn't mention that the US essentially forced other countries to comply with the liquid restrictions, or that the technology exists to screen larger liquids. You don't care about the tremendous inconveniences and health risks your stupidity has caused, all in the name of appearing to do something about an illusory threat. Shame on you.

Anonymous said...

I have a question. Does the app have (a) a comprehensive listing of the rules and regs governing interactions between TSA screeners and the general public; and (b) a electronic complaint and redress form? Also, (c) an electronic form for the D/deaf and HoH (hard of hearing) to request help from the TSA's airport ombsbudsman or customer services specialist required for special needs people and military at each airport. This is important as D/deaf and HoH can't easily use the toll-free telephone for talking with a live voice person.

Anonymous said...

The thing people seem to always forget about the "liquid thing" is that it is a world wide ban. America "forced" other countries to allow ANY kind of liquid into the checkpoint. It was originally a 100% ban! The reason stick deodorant is ok is because SOLID explosives need something to cause them to explode. They need a switch, power source, etc. Liquid explosives only need the other chemical compound to cause an explosion. SO yes, your stick deodorant COULD be an explosive, but the officers are looking for all bomb parts when solids are involved. There is no way to be 100% sure if the liquids are not a part of a chemical bomb. TSA could test all liquids, but then everyone would be on here complaining about how long everything takes!

Anonymous said...

Calm down, Anonymous TSA screener (Aug 31, 10am).

First, the screeners could never discover if the mythical terrorist gang, the Stinky Petes, each brought either a solid explosive disguised as deodorant or one part of a detonator.

Second, as has been stated here by commenters over and over again, the liquid plot was never viable. So the ridiculous limitations are unneeded and wouldn't stop the other mythical terrorist gang, the Wet Terrorists, from bringing in lots of little bottles of chemicals and mixing them in one big bottle once through the screening area. Except they'd probably blow themselves up due to chemical instability or get run over by a unicorn.

Wintermute said...

To the TSAnonymous attempting to answer the solid deodorant question: First, read my comments to Lynn, as they apply to your non-answer as well. Second, take a chemistry class, as some solids react with other solids as easily as some liquids react with some other liquids

Anonymous said...

"...TSA could test all liquids, but then everyone would be on here complaining about how long everything takes!"

Or TSA could do a cost-benefit assessment and use that to guide the development of their policies and their procurement of hardware.

Anonymous said...

The TSA doesn't need to test all liquids. They could test when there is suspicion that the liquid is dangerous. They could also implement random liquid testing. It would be similar to what they do now with the metal detector. I've had the metal detector beep after I cleared it cleanly. The TSA swabbed my bag and sent my on my way. Both methods would allow people to carry additional liquids without substantially increasing risk.

The chances of dying on a plane are incredibly small and even less so at the hands of a terrorist. Most people reading this blog today took a larger risk driving to work or taking a shower.

TK and Pip said...

I know it is popular to bad-mouth TSA, no one likes to have their personal effects examined or their loyalty questioned. As a frequent-flyer, I have had incidents. But in the last 18 months I have notice a large shift, for the better, in the demeanor of the TSOs.

I don't know what happened, but in the last 20+ flights I have taken the experience has been uneventful, and in some instances (BWI, ORD, DFW) downright pleasant. I was actually smiling as I put on my shoes, on a few occasions.

You are moving in the right direction, and we appreciate it! I just wanted you to know that many of us FFs have noticed.

Anonymous said...

The program's algorithm is too simple and basically is nothing but a simple word match program. For example if I want to know if frozen water is allowed, I would type in "Ice". Sound ligical, correct?
Funny thing is, when I do that, you know where it sends me? To the section ontravelling with pets!
Try it yourself.
You know why? because under the section on pets, it talks about Police K-9s. Do you see the connection? The word Police has the letters I-C-E in it! Hence, type in ICE, get pet travel tips!

Anonymous said...

Lynn,

I am still waiting fro an answer on my previous stick versus liquid deodorant question. I would also like to know why my previous comment explaining the wrong concepts on the Aug 31st, 10:05 post. Censoring?

Anonymous said...

Hey Lynn, it's been 12 days. You gonna reply to Anonymous's question?