Earlier this week, some of our wonderful Transportation Security Administration (TSA) personnel helped remind our local community of the reasons behind the procedures that are in place to ensure our safety and also inform us on how we can make this important process as easy as possible while traveling through airports such as our own. Lisa Farbstein, Public Affairs Manager for the TSA went through many helpful tips and safety precautions we should take while traveling.
The first thing that she recommended in order to save time when going through the security checkpoint is to have your ID and boarding pass in your hand, ready to go. Also take your shoes off in advance and if possible, wear slip on shoes to save you time. Lisa went through the reasons why this is asked of travelers and explained that someone had snuck explosives into the cabin of an airplane in their shoes. By taking off your shoes before boarding a plane, it gives TSA a better chance to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again. Lisa also mentions that you should take everything out of your pocket, including tissues, cellphones and wallets. Any liquid or gels that are being brought in your carry on should follow the 3-1-1 rule meaning they should be in a container not exceeding 3.4 ounces, should all fit into a 1 quart bag and you should only have 1 bag at a time. By following this rule, it will make it easier and faster to get through TSA. Lisa recommends that you bring an empty bottle of water to fill up after passing through the line so that it saves you money and the hassle of purchasing a drink after going through security.
Another rule that is commonly forgotten about, or may be unfamiliar to many travelers is taking your laptop out of your bag and placing it into a separate bin for the screening process. This makes it easier for TSA to check and make sure nothing is hidden within the laptop to ensure that everything is safe. She showed us many examples of laptops with altered batteries and chargers in which explosives or drugs may have been smuggled. By taking your laptop out of your bag, TSA will be more likely to catch any altered laptops before entering the cabin of an airplane. Some other examples that Lisa gave of altered items were crutches, food, an innocent teddy bear and a game boy. She explained that the rules that are in place at the TSA checkpoint line are intended to give them a closer look at the everyday items that we may think are innocent but can potentially be used to conceal something that would harm others safety.
If you have questions of what items may or may not be allowed into the cabin of a plane, you can search any item at this website: http://bit.ly/1EmutNb or download the My TSA app and search there. It is important to remind people of the rules that are enforced because it is very common for people to forget them and why they are there. In the end, it is for your safety and the safety of others!