1. Do not show up at the airport just in time for your flight. On a recent flight to Las Vegas, my husband and I arrived at the airport one and one-half hours prior to our departure. Our electronic tickets printed in record time. However, as we were checking our bags, we were pulled out of line to have our luggage hand-screened. Twenty minutes later, we were able to make our way to the security area for the standard screening. Unfortunately, I have titanium plates holding my jaws together as a result of a car accident. The metal detector did not like the titanium. I was again pulled out of line for a pat down and wand screening. We finally arrived at the gate fifteen minutes before our flight was called.
2. Do not pack prohibited items in your carry-on. The Transportation and Safety Administration updates its list of prohibited items on a regular basis. Box cutters, ice picks, knives, meat cleavers, swords, and scissors have appeared on the list of prohibited items since the inception of the list. However, the list does not end with the obvious possible weapons. Baseball bats, bows and arrows, dumbbells, ski poles, and golf clubs are also prohibited. Firearms of any type are banned from airplanes. Many of these items can fly with you if they are packed in your checked luggage. However, you should check with your airline prior to packing a firearm in your checked luggage.
3. Carry appropriate identification. When traveling, it is always a good idea to carry at least two forms of photographic identification, especially if you plan on using some form of travel insurance. Passengers without proper identification will not be permitted to board. Even when I am traveling stateside, I always bring my passport for identification. Other acceptable forms of identification include a military identification, a driver’s license, DHS “Trusted Traveler” cards, and Native American Tribal photographic identification. Passengers over the age of eighteen are required to have proper identification.
4. Do not act in a suspicious manner. Flying home from Washington, DC, I was approached by a young man who had obviously had too much to drink. He wanted me to watch his bag for a few minutes while he went to the restroom. I declined. He started ranting and raving, “What is this world coming to if you cannot help out a fellow traveler? Do I look like a terrorist to you?” He did not look like a terrorist to me. But then, I am not really sure what a terrorist looks like. Needless to say, airport security quickly arrived to escort the young man out of the airport.
5. Do not leave your luggage unattended. While we have all heard that warning over the airport speaker system in more languages than we knew existed, the warning does have merit. I have not witnessed the bomb squad approaching an isolated bag, but I have seen airport security remove purses, carry ons, and other items left unattended in the airport. Security officers ask everyone who is near the luggage if it belongs to them or if they know the owner prior to removing it.
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