It's that time of the year where more and more of us will be visiting airports. So many will be traveling via the airports for Thanksgiving, moving college students back home, the Christmas Holiday and New Year's. What can you do to lessen the stress of airport travel this holiday season?
Here are seven handy tips to make the process a little happier!
1. Be ready when heading through security
This is a big one and so simple too! When entering security checkpoints, have your ID and boarding pass in hand to give to the officer and be prepared to place electronics larger than a cell phone in a separate bin. You can avoid this second step by enrolling in the TSA’s PreCheck program, which allows for electronics to be kept in bags.
The TSA also says that minimizing the accessories you wear to the airport — including bulky jewelry, scarves, hair accessories, and large belts — will help reduce the likeliness of additional screening. “Remove all items from your pockets and put them into one of your carry-on bags so you won’t lose them,” the department writes. This will also lessen the chance you leave an expensive item behind at the TSA check point. Always double check and be sure you have collected all of your items before departing the TSA area.
2. APP Up
Download the My TSA app for your mobile device. What benefits does the app provide? The app will give you an idea of wait times in the TSA check points, you can refer to it for reminders on what you can and cannot take with you on the plane, and you will have live access to TSA for any questions you may have about your upcoming flight. If you have a Known Traveler number, you can store it in the app.
3. Get Social with AskTSA
Through the TSA-run social accounts and the My TSA app, travelers can access AskTSA, the department’s question-and-answer system that is operated through Facebook Messenger and Twitter, where travelers can typically get a quick response to their questions.
The service is available on Twitter at @AskTSA or via Facebook Messenger on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and on weekends/holidays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
4. Checking Baggage vs. Carryon Baggage - Pack it right!
Make sure that large liquids, gels, creams, and aerosols are in checked bags and that those in your carry-on follow the 3-1-1 liquid rule. For liquids that are medically necessary, make sure you alert a TSA agent when you get to the checkpoint. Consult AskTSA or the MyTSA app for any other items that may fall into the gray area. Not sure which items you can carry in your carry-on bag? The MyTSA app is your friend.
The TSA also recommends that you remove powders from your bag, so they can be more easily screened. With the new rules, if the TSA finds powder in a bag, it is cause for a bag check that can keep you at security even longer. “Removing the powder items is likely to reduce the need for a bag check at the checkpoint,” the TSA writes.
5. Grandma was right! A stitch in time will save you nine...
Breathing a sigh of relief that you’ve made it past security without any major hiccups is fine, but forgetting that your laptop was screened separately or leaving a wallet or cellphone at the bottom of a jam-backed bin is not. It’s most important to remember to grab everything, even if it means taking a little more time at security. Not having to circle back to TSA to ask an agent for something you may have forgotten will save you and other travelers time in the long run. By the time that TSA sees that you have left an item behind, you may be several gates away and unable to hear the TSA announcement. By slowing down just a bit and checking that you have all of your items in hand, you could save yourself SEVERAL minutes overall.
6. Enroll in TSA PreCheck
The TSA is constantly pushing programs like PreCheck, Global Entry, NEXUS, and SENTRI because not only do they make their agents’ jobs easier, but these programs also save travelers time and stress as they pass through security.
People using the trusted traveler programs can move through security without having to take off shoes or light jackets, and without having to pull laptops and liquids from their bags. More than 180 airports around the U.S. have dedicated PreCheck. You can get more information about PreCheck on the MyTSA app.
7. Tweet Tweet! Monitor the Twitter account for your airport.
Fly Nashville is one of the best for alerting passengers to anticipated wait times. The Nashville airport is also going through a remodel and their Twitter account keeps you up to date on all the latest details at BNA.