Airport security in the United States has evolved over the last decade in an effort to bring a greater measure of safety and reliability to the nation’s air travel industry. While this change is fundamentally good, passengers are experiencing delays and bottlenecks in airport security systems more than ever. Being aware of airport security regulations and their implications for airline patrons can help passengers experience a smooth and pleasant trip though the security line.
What to Bring
Passengers at all airports are required to show a photo ID at several points, including in the line for the security scanner and immediately before boarding. Passengers should always bring a government issued photo ID and have it ready at all times.
What Not to Bring
Security regulations now limit each passenger to one carry-on bag and one personal item during the flight. Air travelers should pack wisely and keep all unimportant items in stored luggage rather than attempting to take too many items on a flight. The size of carry-on bags should be limited as well; bags that are too large will likely be stored under the plane with the baggage.
Liquids or near-liquid substances such as toothpaste should always be stored in luggage to avoid security bottlenecks. If a passenger absolutely must carry a liquid on board, according to TSA.gov it cannot exceed 3.4 ounces (100ml) and must be stored in a 1 quart zip-top bag. These liquids will very likely be inspected individually and may be cause for additional searches.
Airline patrons should be ready for security measures that are more stringent than ever before in any US airport. Shoes must be taken off and scanned, laptops must be taken out of their cases and scanned separately, and all metal items such as jewelry should be limited or packed in luggage. Bags should never be left unattended, even for a moment. If they have been left unattended, passengers should not hesitate to answer ‘yes’ when asked. Although routine security questions may seem silly to some, they have proven themselves to be effective deterrents to many forms of attack.
Bag-packing technique can also be a factor in speeding up the security process. Untidy bags can be more difficult to view through an X-ray scanner, and may be cause for additional searches. Neatly packed bags are much easier to examine through an X-ray viewing device.