TSA offers tips for holiday air travel

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Knowing that holiday travel brings inexperienced and infrequent travelers to airports, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Safety Administration offers the following holiday-specific information to help people get through airport security checkpoints smoothly and quickly.

TSA’s “3-1-1” rules mean:
• Liquids, aerosols and gels must be in containers 3 ounces or less
• Items must be put in a 1-quart, clear plastic zip-top bag
• Only one zip-top bag per passenger

Do not wrap gifts. If a security officer needs to inspect a package, they may have to unwrap your gift. TSA suggests wrapping gifts after arriving at your destination.

Apply “3-1-1” to gifts, too. Food items such as jams, salsas, sauces, syrups and dips will not be allowed through the checkpoint unless they are in containers 3 ounces or less and in the passenger’s 1-quart zip-top bag. This applies to gift items including lotions, creams, scented oil, liquid soaps, perfumes and even snow globes that are in excess of 3 ounces – even if they are in sealed gift packs. TSA suggests shipping these. Any of these items will be allowed on the plane if you purchase them after the security checkpoint. TSA allows liquid items purchased after the checkpoint onto planes because these items have been previously screened.

Know what items are prohibited on planes. A gift you plan to bring in your carry-on bag might be on TSA’s “Prohibited Item” list. These items delay the screening process for you and other passengers.

Arrive on time. Give yourself plenty of time to move through security. You must have a boarding pass and valid government photo ID to enter the security checkpoint.

Dress the part. Metal in your clothing may set off the walk-through metal detector. Pack coins, keys, jewelry, belt buckles and other metal items in your carry-on bag. Shoes must be removed and screened by TSA, so wear shoes you can easily take on and off to speed the process. Winter coats, blazers, suit jackets and bulky sweaters also must be removed and put in the bin for screening.

Finally, be patient and considerate to TSA screeners and other passengers.

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