Six Strategies to Get You Past Airline Security

Save time and money by keeping up with the ever-changing rules on what may or may not be allowed in your bags

by Rick Seaney | 16 May 2018 at 11:07 AM

Vacation time is nearly here, and you might’ve found a deal on a flight.

Now all you need to do is think about packing and brush up on those ever-changing airport security rules.

Failure to stay informed about TSA changes can cost travelers time and even money.

Watch the powders. This has to do with food supplement powders and/or makeup powder. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) now says you may be asked to pull such things out of a carry-on so that the X-ray machine is able to get a better look at what else is inside your bag.

Tangled cords. This is another example of the TSA’s attempt to get folks to de-clutter carry-on bags. If you have any electronics in your bag, they must come out. Got a charger cord in your bag, or a maybe a hair dryer with a long cord? Roll those cords up and secure with a twist-tie so they don’t un-roll. It’s difficult for X-ray machines to interpret images of a bag when cords are jammed in every which way, and neatly rolled cords are less likely to bend and break.

Unusual or replica weapons. Don't pack metal ninja stars or ornamental knives with blades hidden in canes or hair brush handles; people have tried to bring such items, but the TSA always finds them — and dumps them. And forget inert hand grenades or replicas that are meant to be amusing; the TSA does not find these funny. You won't either, once you've been pulled from the line to explain why you have these deadly-looking items.

That tasty homemade sauce. Maybe nobody makes chimichurri sauce like your Argentinean grandma, but chances are good that this homemade treat will be dumped at the security checkpoint because the TSA will consider some sauces to be liquids. And, as we all know by know, liquids in containers larger than 3.4 ounces are not allowed.

Large bottles of alcohol versus little ones. Don't attempt to bring a bottle of wine through the security checkpoint because, again, it's too big and will be tossed. You can, however, bring mini bottles of alcohol in your bag, about as many as you can fit in a single zip bag of toiletries. The problem here is that you might not get to drink them, at least on the plane; according to the Federal Aviation Administration, you can't legally drink alcohol that the airline didn't serve to you.

Related: Five Secrets of Smoother Airline Travel

Deodorant. Consider using a solid stick-type deodorant when traveling; per TSA rules, you can't bring sprays, gels, liquids, creams and roll-ons in containers bigger than 3.4 ounces.

Bottom line: As you start to prepare for you trip, think about packing, but also think about joining PreCheck. This faster security experience gives you a dedicated lane — plus your shoes and jackets stay on — for a membership fee of $85, which is good for five years. I consider it a real bargain.

Rick Seaney is an airline travel expert and the co-founder of FareCompare.com, an airfare comparison shopping site. This Fox News article is used by permission.

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