There is nothing travelers look forward to more than the security protocols at airports. It’s so much fun!
First, you must hand over identification and make awkward eye contact to confirm you match your photo.
Next, you’re herded like cattle and directed to rapidly undress with strangers in public. Then, you get to put your most valuable belongings through a machine to make sure your Granny panties don’t explode.
And while that’s happening, you have the pleasure of twiddling your thumbs with the same strangers you undressed with since nobody knows how to communicate without their phones anymore.
All kidding aside, even though there is a hint of truth, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) does its best to protect us from the dangers of traveling.
With a super busy holiday travel season ahead, the TSA just can’t help but continue to bark orders at us at home.
TSA just issued a new alert for travelers to follow these 6 important steps:
Pack Your Bags Strategically
TSA is asking passengers to be smart in how they pack their bags. It’s not to be bossy; it’s to be one step ahead for an already chaotic experience at the airport.
The agency recommends starting from scratch with an empty bag and building from there. Any seasoned traveler knows electronics and liquids are the most sought-after in the security line.
These items should be readily available to be removed without holding up the line. Nobody wants to be that person!
Additionally, those bringing Thanksgiving dinner along with them will need to put jams, sauces, gravies and wines in a checked bag since those items are classified as liquids and gels.
Solid foods are always acceptable to bring with you. If you have something iffy, travelers can always check the “What Can I Bring?” page.
Bring The Right I.D.
Travelers won’t be allowed to board without proper identity verification, so it’s highly important to make sure you have the right documents in hand.
There has been a lot of talk about Real IDs, but those don’t go into effect until 2025. Your current driver’s license or passport are perfectly acceptable, even if you’re not traveling internationally.
Your name will need to match your boarding pass, which you may have the option to scan from your phone.
On the flipside, some airports are fancier than others with new Credential Authentication Technology (CAT) units.
These CAT machines only require a valid I.D. and will take your photo (voluntarily) to confirm your identity without ever showing a boarding pass.
Needless to say, holiday travel tends to draw massive crowds. While TSA preps in advance to handle these hectic and frustrating situations, one key sacrifice to make your flight is to simply arrive early.
The holiday season is not the time to tempt your luck by arriving to the airport with 20 minutes left before takeoff.
TSA currently recommends arriving 2 hours before the scheduled departure time.
Firearms Must Be Properly Packed
On the off-chance you are making a last-minute turkey hunting trip, those packing heat on their flights need to make sure firearms are packed properly.
No firearms whatsoever are allowed in carry-on luggage, nor is carrying them to the airport security checkpoint unless you want to fork over nearly $15,000 in fines.
Guns need to be packed in a hard-sided, locked case, and check-in agents need to be made aware of what’s inside.
Airports are upgrading security equipment across the country, such as Computed Tomography (CT) scanners.
Some may still have the old-school versions, while others are more high-tech. Passengers should follow prompts both by signage and TSA agents’ orders, such as removing liquids and putting them in a bin to be scanned.
Some travelers wonder if TSA PreCheck is worth enrolling given lines can be just as long as the standard queue.
Those who do prefer to travel with PreCheck designation should confirm their boarding pass displays the PreCheck emblem.
TSA claims most PreCheck lines do in fact save travelers time with an average wait time of just 5 minutes or less.
A 5-year membership costs just $78 for those considering joining the popular program.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com