At TSA airport security, you have to remove your hat, outer layer, coins, bulky jewelry and watches, a belt with a metal buckle, and, at times, other objects.
They may even ask you to remove your shoes and headphones.
We all agree that the airport security line is a strange and unpleasant place even when flying domestically.
The good news? The TSA (Transportation Security Administration) will stop being such a nightmare if you manage to follow all the travel tips below.
The sensitivity levels of airport scanners vary. Some metal detectors will not go off even if you forget to take off your belt, while others will react to bobby pins.
In any case, the ultimate goal is to get through airport security faster. Individuals who don’t have these items will have reduced security wait times, so follow these travel tips and check the TSA website for further information.
You have to remove belts with too much metal, or you may get a pat-down or private screening.
Also, even though a plastic buckle won’t make the metal detectors go off, the TSA agent might not immediately notice that it is not metal (so, they will ask to take the belt off anyway). Thus, it’s better to wear clothing without metal or that looks metal when you go through the screening checkpoint.
Platinum, gold, silver, and most other valuable items won’t cause any inconveniences, but pieces made out of cheap magnetic materials can make the metal detectors go off.
In some airports, you have to remove any kind of watch. So, you should put bulky jewelryor those made out of cheap materials in the plastic bin.
You can keep your head covered during screening, but you should always remove your headgear unless it’s a religious head covering.
Cardigans, jackets, hoodies, coats – all of these items must be screened separately.
But, if you’re over 75, you don’t need to remove light jackets. However, if the machine goes off, security will ask you to remove it.
Even though no rule states you have to remove your glasses, it would be suspicious if you leave your sunglasses on while going through airport security.
You do not need to remove regular glasses, though.
Always feel your pockets to ensure you do not forget to take out change. Or, you may get a pat-down screening.
Keys and othersmall metal objects will make the metal detectors go off.
Larger piercings can make the machine beep. If you want to avoid a pat-down from an airport screening official, you should take the piercing off beforehand.
But, when it comes to hearing aids, pacemakers, metal plates and screws (in your body), intrauterine devices, and other health-related items, these things will not get detected.
However, the hand-held scanner that the airport security sometimes uses can affect a pacemaker. So, you might want to show security your pacemaker card or simply notify them about your device just in case.
You do not need to remove film in the screening area, but x-ray machines can damage undeveloped film.
Airport security screeners can ask you to remove your shoes. Especially if they look complicated, have buckles, are very high, have heels, or a platform.
At times, they may ask you to take off even the simplest-looking pair, so opt for easily removable shoes if you want to get through security as quickly as possible.
Also, wear socks to avoid getting a foot infection .
AirPods won’t trigger the detector, but airport security might ask you to put them in your carry-on bag so they can go through the scan.
The same applies to other headphones.
Here are some items that you will need to remove for the airport security screening process as well as some packing tips.
Ensure that all liquid and gel items followthe 3-1-1 rule (no more than 3.4 ounces per container in a one quart-sized zip-top clear bag and only one bag per person).
And when at airport security, remove any liquid and gel product from your carry-on baggage or personal items and put it in a separate bin.
But just remember that you should look up what the TSA considers a liquid and what they don’t. For example, toothpaste is not a liquid, but mascara is.
Also, you should know that some liquids, like lighter fluid, are prohibited items.
Finally, until further notice, you can bring up to 12 ounces of hand sanitizer in your carry-on or personal item bag.
You have to place certain medications in separate bins. If the medicine is not in a powder or liquid form, though, you can leave it in your bag.
Additionally, consider putting powders in your checked bags unless you may need them on the flight.
Place your devices in a separate bin so they won’t interfere with the image when in the screening machine.
Ideally, you would want to place food in a plastic bag and a separate bin.
Toys, blankets, strollers, and carriers must go through x-ray screening. If the object doesn’t fit in the machine, the security officer will manually screen it.
The crate has to pass through the machine, so don’t forget to bring a leash. The actual pet would have to go through the metal detector, and the officer can pat down the animal if there is such a need.
You must show your driver’s license and boarding pass to the TSA security officers at all security screening checkpoints.
Anything larger than most mobile phones. Thus, cell phones can stay in your bag, but your tablet, laptop, camera, large power bank, and so on, have to come out.
Also, when putting your electronics in a bin, you have to make sure nothing is under or on top of them.
Additionally, ensure that all the electronics you bring are well-charged. TSA officers can ask you to switch the device on, and if the battery is dead, security can confiscate the item.
When it comes to cables and chargers, however, you don’t have to remove them from your bag. Just make sure you have packed them tight since too many cables can end up cluttering the X-ray images.
If you have a lot of chargers, you can use a travel electronics organizer and put it in a separate bin to avoid additional inspections.
You can leave your laptop in the carry-on if the bag meets the checkpoint-friendly design criteria. For instance,
Do bear in mind that even if your bag is laptop-friendly, the officer might still ask you to remove the device.
Yes, you can bring solid foods in your carry-on .
Even though you do not have to take food out of your bag, you should still do so because some foods can obstruct the images during x-ray screening.
Overall, you can take almost any food item through the security checkpoint. Simply make sure to put the foods in a spill-proof container or bag.
You can have various electronic smoking devices, but only in carry-on bags. You can not have vapes in checked baggage.
Additionally, you might want to remove the battery to prevent accidental activation of the heating element , which can cause a fire.
Thus, because of the possibility of fire, you can go through airport security only if the batteries do not exceed 100Wh (for lithium-ion batteries) or 2 grams (for lithium-metal batteries).
Furthermore, security can ask you to break your electronic cigarette down. So, you might want to disassemble the device and empty the tank beforehand.
Finally, remember that you can not travel on a plane with marijuana or THC products in the United States. If you do, you may get questioned or even arrested by a law enforcement officer.
Apart from the most obvious items, here are a few other things you can take with you.
The above information is primarily for domestic flights. However, when you go through customs for international flights, you may need to take out certain items depending on the country you go to, sometimes including duty-free items.
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Leyla’s love for travel started from childhood with her family trips around the world.
Happiest when she’s living out of her backpack, she’s currently based in Liverpool. When she’s not working, you’ll likely find her reading on the beach, bartending, or planning her next trip abroad.
Leyla has been working with the team since early 2020, editing, optimizing, and keeping our content tasty fresh.
Once the world has gone back to normal, she’ll be bouncing around the globe with her laptop in hand.