Thursday, July 9, 2009

Know Before You Go: Airport Regulations

Strict airport guidelines can add frustration and unnecessary time to your travel plans. Pay attention to these key tips to save time and energy at the airport:
  • Check in ahead of time. Most airlines let you check in and print your boarding pass on their Web site 24 hours before your flight. For airlines that don't assign seats, like Southwest, this is especially important because the sooner you check in, the earlier you will board and choose your seat. Printing your boarding pass ahead of time lets you bypass the long line for regular check in and go straight to the bag drop off.

  • Have your ID and boarding pass ready. Security agents will be looking for your photo ID and your boarding pass to be sure the names match when you join the security line. Save yourself the hassle and have these documents ready when you get in line.

  • Speed through Security. No one likes a long line. Do your part by wearing shoes that are easy to take off, limit your layers, leave the heavy metal at home and keep electronics convenient. Have a plan in mind for when you get to those little plastic bins. Be sure to take out any electronics such as laptops, dvd players etc. and place them visibly in a bin outside of your carry on. Assume that everything will make the sensor go off and put all jackets, bulky sweatshirts, shoes and belts in the bins as well. If you're traveling with liquids, check out the next tip.

  • Carry-on Rules for Liquids. There are very strict rules for bringing liquids through security and on the plane. TSA follows the 3-1-1 rule. Passengers are allowed to carry on containers of no more than 3 ounces each, concealed within 1 single 1 quart bag. The regular one quart ziploc bags are recommended. Any containers over 3 ounces will not be permitted through and will be thrown away (or you'll have to leave the security line and figure out what to do with them before returning). Water or soda purchased at the gate once you're through security is allowed on board but anything purchased before security will be thrown away. There are a few exceptions including baby formula and some prescriptions. For a full list of exceptions and prohibited items please visit the TSA Web site.

Keep these simple rules in mind for your next trip to have happy and safe travels!

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