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Are you in Good Hands?


Getting on a flight these days can feel like climbing through an obstacle course. The Transportation Security Adminstration (TSA) isn’t kidding around when it comes to flight safety. But several strategies can help you whiz through security a little bit faster.

Get (Pre)Checked Out The single speediest route is the TSA PreCheck lane. It lets you keep your shoes, light jacket and belt on, and keep your laptop in your carry-on bag. No one gets a guaranteed PreCheck screening, but you can increase your chances by applying for a Known Traveler Number (KTN), and associating it with your frequent flyer numbers. You can start the application process for a KTN here.

Did You Know?

1.7 M Number of passengers screened every day by the TSA. About five of these are found to be carrying a firearm.

Use Your Military Status If you’re a member of the military, use your Department of Defense ID number the same way you would a KTN when making flight reservations. You can use it for either official or personal travel — which means you don’t need to be in uniform.

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Know the 3-1-1 For liquids, gels, aerosols and creams, the TSA works on a 3-1-1 rule. All liquids have to be 3.4 oz or smaller (that’s the “3”). They must be packed in 1 quart-size clear zip-top bag. And each passenger is allowed 1 zip-top bag. You can pack as many 3.4-oz containers as you’d like in that one quart-size bag. Stick this in the top of your carry-on, so you can easily pull it out for the X-ray conveyor bin. If you leave it in your bag, it will trigger a search.

Scan It Separately Wonder what that X-ray scanner is doing? Looking for suspicious items. These include electronics, dense metallic or crystal items, or anything that might look like a weapon. You might save time by putting anything that looks like this in at the very top of your carry-on, so it’s easy to pull out and run through the scanner in a separate bin.

Pack Neatly Cluttered bags are prime candidates for a search. When wires and other items get all clustered together, it’s hard for the TSA agent to tell what’s what. A clean packing job in your carry-on, with wires neatly wrapped, can keep your bag sailing along the belt.

Charge Your Devices In July 2014, the Department of Homeland Security began requiring that some international airports with flights back to the U.S. make sure that you can power on any electronics you have with you. That’s to prove it’s a real phone, and not a more suspicious device. What happens to those out of juice? You can’t bring them on your flight. So make sure you charge up before you head out.

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