The following tips should help you have a safer and easier experience flying under increased security. Please be aware that different airports and airlines have their own security measures that may differ slightly from those mentioned below.
How to pack
Some items will no longer pass through security checkpoints: remove items found in manicure sets, pocketknives, or any other item that could be viewed as “threatening.” All knives of any sort are unacceptable. You can check the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) list of Permitted and Prohibited Items for current restrictions.
- Make sure all suitcases and carry-on bags have completed nametags.
- Anticipate having to open a bag for security inspection.
- You MUST bring a government issued photo identification card, such as a driver’s license or passport. You will not be allowed to check-in without official identification.
- Put film in your carry-on luggage. Security x-ray machines for checked luggage will ruin your film.
- Be prepared to unlock your checked baggage or to have any locks broken by security.
- Check the TSA’s website for more tips.
Before you depart
- Call your airline’s toll-free number or check the website to reconfirm whether or not your flight is still scheduled to depart, and if it is departing on time. Be sure to reconfirm on your return flight, as well.
- If you have an e-ticket, bring your e-ticket locator/confirmation number with you to the airport. If you were issued a paper ticket, double check that you have the ticket with you.
- Allow plenty of time to check in. The recommended minimum is now 2 hours prior to departure for domestic flights, and 3 hours prior to departure for international flights.
Checking in for your flight
- Do not leave baggage or vehicles unattended. Anything left unattended will be immediately removed.
- Never accept packages from strangers.
- You are required to have a boarding pass before you can pass through the security checkpoint.
- Have airline tickets, boarding passes, and government photos IDs available to show to security.
- Be prepared to empty all of your pockets and to demonstrate operation of electronic equipment.
- Expect increased passenger and baggage searches.
- Make it easy to be screened. Wear shoes that can be taken off and put back on relatively easily. Or if you know that your shoes have metal in them, take them off before going through the metal detector.
- Proceed promptly through the terminal, beyond the security checkpoint.
- Have your luggage receipts available for verification when retrieving luggage.
- Keep a low profile.
- Stay informed of local as well as international events through newspapers, television and radio.
- Speak softly. Do not draw attention to yourself by causing a commotion in public places.
- Stay away from establishments and facilities that are associated in local people’s minds with the United States and avoid displays of patriotism.
- Avoid demonstrations and other situations that may become unruly or where anti-American sentiments may be expressed.
- Do not carry excessive amounts of cash or unnecessary credit cards.
- When you exchange money, deal only with authorized agents to avoid violating local laws.
- Avoid using illicit drugs or drinking excessive amounts of alcoholic beverages and associating with people who do.
- Use the U.S. Department of State and World Health Organization as resources for additional information.