Carry-on Luggage Tips for a Stress Free Security Check-in at the Airport
What to Pack in your Carry-on Bag
  • Organization is the key to a successful security check-in. Pack in layers; first clothing, then electronics and heavier items to allow security officers to see the x-ray image of what's inside your bag more clearly.
  • When going through security, you will be asked to remove laptops, full-size video game consoles, DVD players and video cameras that use cassettes from your carry-on and place them in the x-ray machine separately. You might even be asked to turn them on. Make sure they are easily accessible.
  • iPods, MP3 players and other small electronic items can remain in your carry-on bag.
  • Instead of carrying all of your coats and heavy sweatshirts, pack them in your checked luggage. Save the one you want to wear.
  • Please note the coat you're wearing will go through the x-ray machine.
  • Don't wrap gifts. If a security officer needs to inspect your package, you'll have to unwrap it.
  • Undeveloped film should be placed in your carry-on bag. Declare film faster than 800-speed to the TSA officer for physical inspection to avoid it being x-rayed.
  • If you're uncertain about any items, don't pack it in your carry-on bag or leave it at home.
  • When carrying on liquids, follow the 3-1-1 rule. Be sure bottles weigh no more than 3.4 ounces. Pack all your liquids in a 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag. 1 bag per passenger should be placed in the screening bins provided. Put your liquids inside your checked baggage when possible.
  • Be sure to declare larger liquids you're carrying on, like medications, baby formula, food and breast milk. Reasonable quantities that don't exceed three ounces are not required to be in a zip-top bag. Once at the checkpoint, be sure to let the security officers know.
  • Be prepared when going through TSA, the more you follow the guidelines and instructions provided, the smoother your experience will be.
  • Arrive early and be patient. If you're traveling at a peak time, the security lines will be much longer.
3-1-1 Rule for Airline Carry-On Baggage

Bringing Metal through Security and Setting off the Alarm

If the metal detector alarm goes off when you pass through, you’ll be asked to make sure you have no metal items in your pockets and to go through again. If the alarm goes off, you’ll undergo additional screening, which includes a hand-wand and a pat-down inspection. Items that are likely to set off the metal detector are as follows:
  • Loose change
  • Keys
  • Cell phones, PDA’s and pagers
  • Heavy jewelry, necklaces, bracelets, rings, watches, earrings, body piercings, pins, cuff links, lanyards and bolo ties
  • Metal hair barrettes and other decorative hair accessories
  • Belt buckles
  • Bras with under wires
  • Head coverings might require additional screening, especially loose fitting head coverings.
  • Travelers will be required to take their shoes off before entering the x-ray machine. You might want to wear slip-on shoes to easily remove them before going through.
What you will need to show at the Transportation Security Checkpoint
  • Boarding pass
  • Government issued identification (license, passport or ID with your picture on it)
  • Children are not required to show ID
  • If your ID has been lost or stolen, you will be required to provide documentation verifying your identity.
Don’t be Late When Checking-In
  • Arrive a few hours before your departure time, so you have adequate time to check your luggage and pass through security.
  • As mentioned, wear comfortable, slip-on shoes, so you can quickly take them off before going through the metal detector.
  • If you're traveling with a pet, remove your pet from its carrying case and send that through the x-ray machine. Hold your pet in your arms and proceed through the metal detector.
  • If you're traveling with infants and children, be sure to take them out of the baby carriers and strollers. Strollers and baby carriers will go through the x-ray machine.
  • Think before you speak, behave in a mature fashion, remain calm and polite.
To find out more about the TSA rules and restrictions log onto the Transportation Security Administration website,
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