How to Prepare for Traveling this Season
It’s the time of the year for turkey, shiny lights, and Hanukkah candles. It also means lots of Christmas and New Years’ travel. If you plan on flying this season, you should know that our friends at the TSA have announced some new tips to help ease your journey.
The TSA has a new Secure Flight program for ticketing:
- Secure Flight improves flying watch-list matches. This should help you get through the line more quickly than if they hadn’t made this change.
- Family members need to provide photo identification, date of birth, and state gender. (If you don’t like the picture on your driver’s license, don’t worry. The TSA agents have seen worse.
- Cooperate with TSA members to make sure no one on the “Do Not Fly” list gets on the airplane.
- Important tip – when you book your reservation, use the same name that appears on your ID. Don’t use nicknames or shortened names. That means I will have to use RJ the Fire Dog instead of the nickname RJ if the DMV ever changes the dumb rule about not issuing drivers’ licenses to dogs.
- Special security line for those with families or infrequent travelers that are unfamiliar with airport screening procedures. My son, JR, might be in this category since he’s never been on an airplane. He’s not as well-traveled as his father.
- Is your baby formula or insulin packaged in a container that is larger than 3 ounces? If so, go through a family lane and a specially-trained TSA agent will help you out. But I wonder. Do they make insulin in handy warehouse-sized packages? Just wondering…
- Allows TSA agents the opportunity to properly check for liquid explosive materials. (Would that include the expanding gel in dirty disposable diapers?)
- Here’s something that makes sense. Go figure. The 3-1-1 Rule involves a 3, a 1, and another 1.
- Liquids and aerosols should be in packages of 3.4 ounces or less.
- Consolidate items into 1 plastic zip bag
- There is a per-person limit of 1 quart-sized bag of liquids (How many liquids do you need on an airplane anyway? Don’t they serve coffee, tea and milk?)
- Save the TSA agents’ time by having your bag of liquids outside of your carry-on and ready for inspection. (This will also make it easier to snack, if you enjoy hairspray or, like me, an occasional lick of hand lotion.)
Traveling with food or gifts?
Many of you will be bringing gifts to your destination (and, if you’ve been good this year, maybe even returning home with some). The TSA has guidelines on gifts.
If you have any liquid gifts such as wine, maple syrup or even a snow globe (which I don’t recommend for eating), you should either pack the gift in your checked luggage or just ship it to yourself. But make sure you don’t have to be there when it arrives in case Fed Ex or UPS are quicker than your plane.
And remember, don’t spend time wrapping gifts with that special reindeer paper, since the TSA agents will need to unwrap and check each and every package looking for things to steal. Just kidding. They are all very honest at the TSA, or so I’ve been told!
Finally, the TSA is reminding travelers to report any suspicious activity to an agent. Don’t be afraid to bark if something doesn’t seem right. Keep all of these tips in mind and traveling will be a lot smoother for everyone. Happy Holidays from the folks at RJWestmore. And whichever holiday you celebrate, we hope you’ll BE SAFE.