PITTSBURGH — This is expected to be one of the busiest years on record for the Transportation Security Administration and officials want to ensure the most efficient security checkpoint experience for travelers flying out of Pittsburgh International Airport. So officials are sharing a handful of tips and tools to make sure that passengers aren’t bringing prohibited items with them to the airport.
The best way to ensure that you know what can be packed in a carry-on bag, checked bag, either or neither is through any of these four options:
- Tweet or Message AskTSA. Unsure if an item is allowed through security? Issues receiving TSA Pre✓® on your boarding pass? Get live assistance by tweeting your questions and comments to @AskTSA or via Facebook Messenger on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and on weekends/holidays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- TSA’s homepage has a feature in the upper right-hand corner entitled “What Can I Bring?” in which travelers can type in the name of an item to find out if it is allowed in a checked or carry-on bag.
- The TSA Contact Center is available to answer questions by email and phone at 1-866-289-9673. Staff is available from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekends/holidays; an automated service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- Download TSA’s free app. The MyTSA app has a handy feature entitled “What Can I bring?” in which travelers can quickly search which items you can bring with you through the checkpoint onto the airplane.
Additional helpful travel tips for the airport security checkpoint include:
- Start with an empty bag when packing for the airport. This can mean a suitcase, roller bag, knapsack, messenger bag, briefcase or purse. This ensures that you haven’t forgotten that you had an item in the bottom of your carry-on bag.
- Prepare for security when packing. Put large liquids, gels, creams and aerosols, such as shampoo, conditioner, suntan lotion, shaving cream and anti-perspirant into checked bags. If you’ve only got a carry-on bag, make sure all of your liquids follow the 3-1-1 rule. And it’s important to make sure that you’ve got no prohibited items in your luggage.
- Be ready when you enter the checkpoint line: Checkpoint lines are an ideal time to remove all items from your pockets and put them into one of your carry-on bags so you won’t lose them. It’s also the time to get your ID and boarding pass out of your wallet and ready to hand to the TSA officer. (Don’t forget to get your REAL ID-compliant license before October 2020.)
- Once you get to the divesting tables, be ready to remove laptops, any electronics larger than a cell phone and the 3-1-1 compliant liquids bag from carry-on baggage and place those items in a checkpoint bin with nothing above or underneath them.
- Let the TSA officer know right away if you’re traveling with larger quantities of medically necessary liquid medications, or breast milk or formula for an infant as those can be screened separately.
- Consider minimizing items that you wear to the airport such as bulky jewelry, scarves, hair accessories, large belts and other bulky items as these articles are likely to require additional screening.
- Apply for TSA Pre✓® or other trusted travel programs like Global Entry, NEXUS, or SENTRI. To find the trusted traveler program that best suits your travel needs, use the DHS trusted traveler comparison tool. These programs help improve security and provide a more convenient travel experience by affording travelers access to TSA Pre✓® expedited screening lanes. Travelers using the TSA Pre✓® lane do not need to remove shoes, laptops, liquids, belts and light jackets at more than 200 U.S. airports. In addition, don’t forget to renew your membership in TSA Pre✓®, which is required every five years. To get more information about TSA Pre✓®, visit the frequently asked questions page on the TSA website.