WASHINGTON – Travel tips from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will help get travelers on their way this Fourth of July weekend and throughout the summer.
As air travel returns to pre-9/11 levels all passengers are asked to do their part to ensure the screening process moves smoothly. The agency reminds passengers that fireworks are prohibited from both carry-on and checked baggage. Firearms and ammunition are permitted in checked baggage but only if properly packaged and declared to the airlines.
"The increase in the number of firearms we are intercepting at checkpoints confirms the need for travelers to familiarize themselves with guidelines and regulations when packing for summer travel," said Rear Adm. David M. Stone, USN (Ret.), TSA's Acting Administrator. "By following these tips passengers will move more quickly through the screening process and allow our screeners to focus on more serious threats to aviation security."
Here are a few new tips to help summer travelers:
Guns and Ammunition – Firearms and ammunition are not permitted at the checkpoint. TSA is still seeing an average of two firearms a day and dozens of instances of live ammunition brought to the checkpoint. Passengers transporting guns must carry them unloaded, in a locked, hard-sided container, and must declare them to the airline at the ticket counter. Then, they can be placed with checked baggage. Ammunition must also be placed in checked baggage.
Fireworks – Fireworks are not allowed on airplanes, in checked or carry-on baggage. TSA recommends passengers thoroughly wash their hands after handling fireworks to remove any explosive residue and avoid being delayed at the checkpoint.
Golf Gear –Before flying, clean off clubs and golf shoes to prevent triggering baggage screening equipment. Also, remember to pack clubs in a travel bag.
Sporting Goods – Scuba tanks are not allowed on commercial airlines for safety reasons. Ship scuba tanks or consider renting a tank at your destination. Fishing tackle and sports gear – such as bats and lacrosse sticks – must be checked. Campers traveling with gas containers for grills or stoves must find another way to ship the containers separately, as they cannot be checked or carried onto a plane.
Shoes – One of the advantages of the summer travel season is that warm-weather clothes are more "checkpoint-friendly." Footwear that is less likely to require additional screening includes:
- "Beach" flip flops
- Thin-soled shoes
Footwear that is more likely to require additional screening includes:
- Work boots
- Platform shoes and platform flip flops
- Any shoe or boot with metal shanks
Summer Campers – Be sure to check the camp's suggested supply list against the TSA prohibited items list to avoid delays at the security checkpoints. Items such as pocketknives and scissors with pointed tips are not permitted in carry-on luggage. Also, parents and camp counselors can call ahead to airlines for permission to escort children to and from gates.
Packing Bags – Remember that federal security screeners may have to open and physically search a bag as part of the screening process. Overstuffed bags are more difficult to close once opened which could result in delays for checked luggage and may cause bags to miss flights.
Locking Bags – Passengers who choose to lock their bags are encouraged to use TSA-recognized locks as screeners may have to open baggage as part of the screening process. If TSA cannot open your checked baggage through other means, then the locks may have to be broken.
Film – Passengers traveling with undeveloped film should pack these items in their carry-on bags. Checked baggage screening equipment will damage undeveloped film.
Video Cameras and Laptops - In addition to laptops, passengers must now remove video cameras that use cassettes (VHS, Beta, etc.) from their carry-on bag and place them in a separate bin at the x-ray machine. This is a new policy in response to evolving security threats.
Prepare before leaving for the airport. Travel tips for parents, persons with special needs and the general public, lists of prohibited items and much more can be found on the TSA website. TSA encourages travelers to use the Prepare for Summer Travel Checklist provided on the website. Passengers will be surprised at how much easier an airport experience will be if they know what to expect.