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5 Common Mistakes Travelers Make at TSA Checkpoints


A lot of the pitfalls causing travelers to miss their flight -- from traffic jams to delayed or canceled departures -- are typically, beyond their control.

Airport security hold ups are also a problem for those flying anywhere in the U.S. However, TSA is a necessary inconvenience all travelers must accept if they want to fly and fly safely.

The best any traveler can hope for is to make it through the realm of the TSA as hassle-free and quickly as possible. This means being prepared, avoiding all-too-common mistakes that will slow everyone down, and preventing things that might get you into trouble.

Be a savvy traveler capable of getting through TSA like a pro by avoiding these five common airport security boo-boos.

Mistake #1: Packing Guns in a Carry-on Bag

TSA confiscated 2, 212 firearms in 224 airports, the highest number of discoveries in the last ten years.

If you are planning on bringing a gun, or any weapon for that matter, make sure to pack it properly and to declare it to the air carrier. Know that there are legal methods to transport firearms, and packing them in a carry-on luggage is not one of them.

Double-double check TSA regulations before traveling with a firearm or TSA prohibited items and abide by these regulations 100%.

Better yet, do not bring firearms or any prohibited items. At all. This would save you a huge amount of trouble and time at the airport and TSA checkpoints.

Mistake #2: Not Using TSA-approved Locks

Locking your luggage helps to protect your belongings from tampering, theft and misuse. While locks play an important role in keeping travelers’ possessions safe, TSA protocol requires that bags be inspected should the need arise.

That’s where TSA-approved locks come in. Typically, TSA screens luggage electronically. However, there are times when a physical baggage inspection is required. In such cases, the TSA officers will open the baggage.

If the bag is secured with TSA recognized locks, they will simply use universal master keys to open the luggage without having to break the locks.

TSA-approved locks are available at airports and travel stores in the U.S.

Mistake #3: Stashing Huge Amounts of Liquids

Even though TSA’s liquid rule went into effect nearly 10 years ago, many infrequent fliers still show up at the airport with full-sized bottles of perfume, shampoo, gel, and more in carry-on luggage.

Make certain any liquid or gel item you have in your carry-on luggage does not exceed 3.4 ounces and is kept in a clear 1 quart size plastic bag.

To avoid slowing the security line down, store your clear bag in a handy place for quick, easy access so you can place it in the TSA bin as required.

There are exemptions, though. Travelers may bring any duty-free liquid items in their carry-on bags as long as the item was bought beyond the airport security checkpoint and remains sealed in secure, tamper-evident bags (STEBS). Baby formula and breast milk, as well as medications are also exempt to the 3-1-1 liquid rule.

Mistake #4: Toting Concealment Flasks

Although there are exemptions to the 3-1-1 rule, flasks are not one of them. While you probably can get away with beer bellies, cane flasks, binocular flasks, flip-flop flasks, pen flasks, and other concealment flasks in sporting events and concerts, airport security will surely be able to detect them.

So you might want to re-consider bringing one in your carry-on, unless of course your drinks are purchased after you have been cleared at the airport security checkpoint.

In addition, beverages in bottles not larger than 3.4 ounces and placed in a quart-size clear, air-tight bag can be brought in a carry-on bag. Anything larger than that should be packed in checked luggage.

However, keep in mind that alcoholic drinks that contain more than 70% alcoholic content cannot be checked in.

Moreover, each traveler is limited to five liter of alcohol containing alcohol content between 24% and 70%. These beverages must be packed is sealable flasks or bottles.

Mistake #5: Arguing with a TSA Officer

Most of the mentioned mistakes are caused by the passenger’s lack of knowledge regarding airport security procedures. In order for the TSA agents to do their jobs properly and for you to be able to go through the checkpoint the fastest and smoothest way possible, you should take it upon yourself to conduct research.

Find out what you can and cannot carry through the airport security checkpoint. Doing so, will help speed your time in the security line.

Also, forget arguing with the TSA agent. Take note that these officers are simply following security protocols. If you do not agree with the rules, take it out on the law makers, not on the TSA agents.

Final Word:

No matter what obstacles are thrown in your path, there are ways to increase your chances of breezing through the TSA without worries.

Abide by all TSA rules and regulations. Even well thought-out plans can go awry, so make sure yours remain intact by avoiding these mentioned airport security mistakes.



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