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New Rules for Getting through TSA Checkpoints

Have you heard? Getting through the TSA checkpoints is taking L O N G E R. The TSA agents are being more careful; they are doing more thorough screening on more people. All this takes time, so to make it easier on yourself follow this guide for getting through the line faster.

Being well prepared for the airport security checkpoint when you travel, will make for shorter lines and less stress. When traveling to Europe or anywhere outside the USA, your passport is your ID.

TSA Checkpoint Quick Tips

  • Have your ID and boarding pass available for the agents.  Remove your government-issued photo ID from wallets, plastic holders and other similar carrying cases, and present the ID along with your boarding pass at the start of the screening process.
  • Put cameras and all metalic objects in your carry-on luggage.
  • Hold on to the boarding pass until you have passed through the magnetometer, where you may need to show it again.
  • Take off your shoes and jackets and put them in the provided bin.
  • Put your laptop in a separate bin.
  • Take out your one quart sized baggie that holds your carry-on liquids and put it in the provided bin. Liquid containers can not hold more than 3 ounces each.

Since May 26, TSA began using a standardized list of acceptable identification for national airline travel.
Passengers who present a federal or state-issued photo ID containing name, date of birth, gender, expiration date and a tamper-resistant feature that is free from evidence of tampering can expect to be expedited through the travel document checking process. Standardizing the list of accepted documents better aligns TSA with other DHS components and REAL ID benchmarks.

For more information, visit the Government TSA site.

Get there early

Airport Timetable

Even if you are organized, chances are the people in front of you aren’t. Keep this in mind when buying your airline tickets. A 6:30 am departure might not have been difficult in the past, but do you really want to get to the airport at 3:30 am for a 6:30 flight? This goes for your return flight as well…maybe even more-so.


Be prepared to show both your identification (Passport) and boarding pass  to TSA Agents.

Pack your carry-on carefully

Don’t just shove things into your carry-on. It makes it easier for the X-ray operator to see things if they are not all wadded up together.  (Putting through your carry-on more than once takes extra time.) Undeveloped film should go in your carry-on bag. You can declare film that is faster than 800-speed to a transportation security officer for physical inspection to avoid it being X-rayed

Each passenger is allowed a single, one-quart bag. Have your liquids packed in a one-quart zip-lock bag. (Do this before you get to the airport.)  And liquids must be in 3.4 oz  (100ml)  containers or smaller.

Small electronics, such as iPods, can remain in your carry-on. But, remember that they need to be fully-charged. TSA agents are now going to randomly check electronic devices by turning them on. If they are not charged, agents can, and will confiscate them.

At the Checkpoint

Place your plastic bag in the security bin along with your coat.
If your belt has a large buckle, add it to the bin.
Shoes (wear slip-on shoes to make it easier) should be put on the X-Ray belt, not in the bin.

Here are some other items that may set off the alarm:

  • getting through TSA checkpointsKeys, loose change, mobile phones, pagers, and personal data assistants (PDAs)
  • Heavy jewelry (including pins, necklaces, bracelets, rings, watches, earrings, body piercings, cuff links, lanyards or bolo ties)
  • Clothing with metal buttons, snaps or studs
  • Metal hair barrettes or other hair decoration
  • Under-wire bras


Put your laptop in a bin by itself, or on the X-Ray belt.
TSA screens laptops to see if the electronics have been tampered with. Transportation Security Officers know what the inside of a computer should look like, and they can recognize irregularities. This is why they need an unobstructed view as the item moves through the X-ray machine. Once again, make sure it is fully charged in case you are selected to have your device turned on for inspection.


Watch what you say. Don’t make any jokes about bombs, terrorism or the like. Don’t be belligerent to the TSA officers. Remember they are there to protect you.If you are interested in keeping up with the latest TSA news, check into the TSA Blog


Thursday 10th of November 2011

My makeup is in a glass bottle (less than 3.2oz) - is glass allowed in my carry on bag?

Terri Fogarty

Thursday 10th of November 2011

Hi Lori,

Glass containers are OK; they just need to contain less than 3.4 oz .

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