If you are about to take your first airplane trip ever or it has been a while since your last flight, you may be wondering about changes in airport security protocol. These necessary screenings can take time, so it is important to arrive with enough time before your flight. Although time can vary by location, passengers of domestic flights should arrive at least an hour before and two hours prior to an international flight. Below is information to help you prepare for your flight.
Following the recent wake of terrorist events and scares, TSA has increased security restrictions. Even harmless items like shampoo and strong magnets have rules. The team at GlobalEntryServices.org advises passengers to review the airport’s list of restricted items before packing.
Carry-on and personal baggage have the strictest limitations, as these belongings are assessable within the cabin of the plane. Most airlines limit passengers to one carry-on and one personal item such as a purse or laptop bag. Airline officials will only allow bags that fit within the size restrictions. If your carry-on or personal item is larger than the allotted size, you may be forced to check the bag. The most common issue passengers come across is the maximum on liquids. All acceptable liquids (like toiletries) must be in containers smaller than 3.4 ounces as well as being in closable quart-size plastic bags. Generally, restricted items include anything that can explode, start a fire or be used as a weapon.
Before standing in the security line, you will need to show your valid identification and ticket to TSA agent. If you did not print or forgot your ticket at home, you can pick it up from the airline’s ticket counter or from an interactive kiosk, if available. Photo identification may include a passport, driver’s license, trusted travel card or military card. If you do not have any of these types of identifications, the team at GlobalEntryServices.org suggests arriving at the airport at least two hours early to allow for additional screening requirements, as airports may allow you to fly if they can confirm your identification through other methods. Passengers younger than 18 years of age do not need photo identification.
The passenger screening process involves placing baggage in plastic bins to roll into X-ray machines. Travelers will also need to place their shoes, bulky outerwear and all items in their pockets in these bins as well. The team at GlobalEntryServices.org recommends wearing shoes and clothing that is easy to put on and take off, as well as socks, as you might find yourself bare foot in an airport security line. Passengers may then need to walk through either metal detectors or advanced imaging technology to verify they are not concealing prohibited items. If you trigger a security alarm, a pat down by a TSA agent may be necessary. A TSA agent of the same gender will conduct any physical acts of searching a person.
Service animals of passengers are also subject to security screens at the airport. Like humans, service animals must walk through advanced imaging technology or metal detectors. Pets may also receive a pat down by a TSA agent to inspect accessories like leashes, collars, harnesses, vests and pet packs.