Ah…the joys of traveling. Traffic, check in agents making up their own rules, and our tax dollars hard at work at the TSA security check point. I am not sure what is more frustrating, the incompetent TSA staff standing around talking while passengers are waiting or the infrequent traveler that takes the last six…yes that’s right six plastic bins for use on the conveyor belt.
First, as an homage to the upcoming Up In The Air movie, pick any line that you have access to that looks short and doesn’t have any slow passengers. Avoid following passengers that have head to toe coverings which will require a secondary screening, or any line that is close to the airline employee entrance as you could have a dozen pilots and FAs budge in front of you when their hotel shuttle arrives. Many airports, like Las Vegas, have several x-ray lines, once you are through the ID check, simply walk up or down to the best line. Some airports don’t have this luxury, but when you can take advantage of it, you should do so.
Here is a quick list of dos and don’ts for your next trip through TSA hell that I practice and are anecdotally working for most people. Check the TSA website and blog and local ordinances to make your own decision regarding best practices.
- Do not bring liquids greater than 3.4oz (100ml). Finish your Gatorade or throw it away before you get there.
- Do not tape firearms or cocaine to your wheelchair. The TSA may not be the brightest bunch, but they’ll find it.
- As we mentioned in a previous podcast there doesn’t seem to be a requirement to remove your 3-1-1 liquid bag out of your carry on. None of us have been doing it for months. One less thing to take out and repack will speed things up.
- Do put your shoes directly on the conveyor belt – do not use a plastic bin for this.
- Do put your laptop into a plastic bin with nothing on top of it. You can put items along side it, but not on top which would block the screeners view of the laptop itself
- Do not put any of your bags into a plastic bin, unless its a small purse or something. Mr. Six Bins above, put two of his small-ish carry-ons into plastic bins. Completely unnecessary.
- Consider getting a laptop friendly bag that fans open so that the laptop is visible via x-ray for the TSA
- When you reach airside, slide your belongings down as far as possible, and pile empty trays out of the way. The further you move along, the more people can get through from the other side.
- Do take photos of sleeping TSA employees and TSA employees screwing around in wheelchairs. From the TSA blog they do not prohibit photographs as long as you are not doing surveillance. However, you should check local laws and ordinances for your airport which may prohibit photos.
- And last but not least (I can’t tell you how many times I forget this one!) leave your hand grenade at home!
What are you tips? What stories do you have from your TSA checkpoint adventures? Got any photos to share?