Plan ahead to make airport security checks easier, officials say

Today is one of the heaviest days of the year at Tampa International Airport, with 52,000 passengers expected to fly in or out. To make the trip through security easier:

Think ahead

A lot of people get stressed at having to remove belts, cell phones and heavy jewelry at security, Transportation Security Administration officials say. So put those items in your carry-on bag. Once you get through security, you can put them on. Items that could set off an alarm include keys, coins and metal barrettes. And have all your liquid carry-ons in 3.4-ounce bottles in a quart-sized clear plastic bag.

Wardrobe no-nos

Clothes with metal buttons, studs or snaps. Underwire bras. You'll have to take off your shoes, so consider slip-ons. If you get a pat-down, you might be more comfortable in slacks than a skirt. Any baggy clothing could bring extra scrutiny. Tell screeners if you have a hidden medical device.

About that pat-down

Fewer than 3 percent of fliers will get one. Expect one if you set off an alarm in a metal detector or scanner — or if you opt out of a scan. A pat-down takes a minute or two, compared with 20 to 25 seconds for a body scan. Pat-downs are done by officers of the same gender as the passenger. You can ask that they be done in private and that a companion or a supervisor be present. Kids 12 and younger who require extra screening will get a "modified" pat-down. No word on what that means.

Gravy? No. Pie? Yes.

Some people want to fly with favorite Thanksgiving foods, TSA officials say. But some foods, especially liquids, cannot be carried onto planes. So no gravy, syrup, soup, dip, jam or cranberry sauce in your carry-on. Put those in a checked bag, ship them ahead or leave them home. You can, however, take a pie through security. It will be X-rayed and possibly tested, but not tasted.

Opt-out protest

There's buzz about a National Opt-Out Day today to protest the scanners by refusing to go through them. The idea is getting mixed reviews. "We do find it somewhat irresponsible that people would be asking others to opt out of the very technology that is in place to keep us safe," TSA spokeswoman Sari Koshetz said.

Plan ahead to make airport security checks easier, officials say 11/23/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 24, 2010 10:23am]

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