During the summer travel months, the country’s airports are more crowded than ever. But there are some things you can do to reduce your stress and make sure you catch your flight on time, courtesy of the TSA.
Apply for a trusted traveler program, such as TSA Pre✓®, Global Entry or NEXUS. These help expedite the boarding and security check process. To find out which trusted traveler program best suits your needs, see the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Trusted Traveler Program comparison chart.
Make sure you have proper ID, such as a driver’s license or other state photo identity card issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles, or a U.S. passport. Important: Make sure that your name matches your boarding pass. For a list of accepted IDs, see the TSA’s Identification page.
Don’t pack prohibited items. Knowing what is prohibited at the airport and on planes will help the screening process go much quicker. Even if an item is generally permitted, it may be subject to additional screening or not allowed through the checkpoint if it triggers an alarm during the screening process, appears to have been tampered with, or poses other security concerns. If you’re not sure what’s prohibited, check the TSA’s list of prohibited items.
Leave plenty of time. Arrive at least two (2) hours before your flight when flying domestic, and three (3) hours early when flying international. Allow for more time at larger, busier airports.
Be prepared for airport security checkpoints by having your ID and boarding pass out. Remove large electronics from bags, such as a laptop; remove 3-1-1 compliant liquid bags and consider checking your bags instead of carrying them on to save time.
Review the TSA’s liquid rule
According to the TSA’s 3-1-1 liquids rule, you are allowed to bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes through the checkpoint. These are limited to 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item.
Additional advice from a travel expert
Wall Street Journal travel writer, Scott McCartney, shares some useful travel tips he’s compiled over the years talking to travelers like you.
McCartney thinks the most important thing when going through airport security and dealing with the TSA is to be consistent and have a routine. For example, it’s very easy to end up losing your driver’s license when walking through the airport because you’re taking it out of your pocket a lot, and you may forget where you put it. His routine is to instantly put his license back in his wallet before he moves on.
When it comes to carryon baggage, make sure you put items, such as books, electronics and liquids back in the same compartment every time, so you know exactly where they are and where to unzip to get to them. He also thinks it’s good practice to put larger bags through the x-ray belt first, with the laptop being the last thing that goes through.
If you get delayed at the metal detector or body scanner, your laptop will be the last to come out, and you’ll have the laptop bag already. You don’t want to be standing there holding your shoes, laptop, etc. without a bag.
McCartney also suggests printing your boarding pass early. Here’s why: Not only does it eliminate a stop at the airline’s check-in counter — if you don’t have to check a bag — but it’s an important way to claim your seat on the flight. If you’re an infrequent flyer flying on a less expensive ticket, and the flight is overbooked, those who have not checked in are in greater danger of being bumped from the flight, if the airline has to bump somebody and can’t get enough volunteers.
Since compensation is based on the price of your ticket, airlines typically look for the cheapest tickets, and so, if you check in and claim your seat early, it makes it harder for the gate agent to bump you from the flight.
For more flying tips, visit TSA.gov. To learn about how you can receive expedited screening through TSA Pre✓®.
To make your trip to the airport quicker and less stressful, let Hoyt Livery do the driving. We’ll get you there and home again safely and on time!