Lifestyle Feature: AIR TRAVEL 101 – Part 2 – To Check or Not To Check? by Veronica Brown

Air travel can be exhausting, there should be packing procedure in place for you. This will save time when proceeding through airport security, the department of Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Make sure you have all documents, plane tickets, driver license, passport, etc… Do not forget your credit card, ATM card or your AAA card. No need to bring every plastic card you have.

From the first time you decide to embark upon your air travel journey, you must be vigilant in preparing for your trip. Now that you have purchased your plane tickets, it’s time to pack. Travel packing have never been more valuable. Today, most airlines will make you pay to check your baggage. Therefore, check with your particular airline. Most airlines will charge for checked luggage, some will even charge for large carry-ons, very few airlines allow one free checked luggage for everyone. Most frequent flyer programs and credit card affiliations give you some free luggage allowance.

Here are a few tips to assist you in making a decision on what and how to pack.

1.      Pack Light:  Believe me, you don’t have to pack much. Reach out to individuals in which you are making the trip. How often will you be seen by that person or people and realize you don’t have to wear something different every day.

2.      How About the Greys:  If you are contemplating color clothes, matching them will require more clothes.  Consider packing black, white and grey. You can throw in a few colored tops and shirts to mix and match to create a different look.

3.      Everything Downsized: If you decide to just do carry-on, well, no creams, liquid, ointments, gels in containers greater than 3.3 ounces. In the United States the 3-1-1 TSA regulations applies. Make sure these items are in a clear zip lock bag to be viewed by TSA upon request. Do you really need toiletries?  Hotels offer free Toothpaste, tooth brushes, soap, shampoo, conditioner to their guests. This will add space and lighter weight in your bag. Pack valuables in your carry-on. To save time in retrieving your luggage, purchase luggage that you can recognize immediately, such as colorful luggage that will stand out among other baggage.

4.      Leave The Scissors At Home:  This item qualifies as a no go item. You can not pack anything blunt, pointed or sharp. Including small manicure scissors. It will be tossed out by the TSA.

5.      Have A First Aid Kit With the Basics:  Prescription medication, bandages, Band-Aid, pain medication like Advil, Ibuprofen, Tylenol.

6.      Do Not Over Stuff / Have The Right Size: The maximum size for carry-on luggage is 45 inches combined, ideally 22” x 14” x 9”. Your luggage must fit into the provided sizer box at the counter or gate. If the handle or wheels are too large and do not fit inside the box, your luggage must be checked.

7.      Please Do Not Hassle Airline Personnel:  If the gate agent looks at your bag and informs you the luggage is too thick , try zipping down the expansion or take or adjust the luggage by taking out  an item or two, like a big sweater or a thick folder.

For International travel:  remember snacks, power adapter, some cash in foreign currency.

TSA has evolved from a one-size-fits-all security screening approach to a risk-based, intelligence-driven strategy designed to improve both security and the passenger experience. This approach permits them to provide expedited screening for trusted travelers and to focus on high-risk and unknown passengers at security checkpoints.

TSA officers may use risk-based security measures to identify, mitigate and resolve potential threats at the airport security checkpoint. These officers may ask you questions about your travel to include identity, travel itinerary and property. TSA may use a variety of screening processes, including random screening, regardless of whether an alarm is triggered. In addition, TSA uses unpredictable security measures throughout the airport and no individual is guaranteed expedited screening.

Use caution when packing

Some everyday products, like lithium-ion battery powered items, e-cigarettes and aerosol spray starch, can be dangerous when transported on the aircraft in carry-on and/or checked baggage. Changes in temperature or pressure can cause some items to leak, generate toxic fumes or start a fire. Carriage of prohibited items may result in fines or in certain cases imprisonment.

Hover-boards, balance wheels, electric smart scooters, and other personal transportation devices contain large lithium ion batteries that can catch on fire. American Airlines does not allow these in checked or carry-on baggage. Please ensure there are no forbidden hazardous materials in your baggage like:

exceptions: There are special exceptions for small quantities (up to 70 ounces total) of medicinal and toilet articles carried in your luggage and certain smoking materials carried on your person. Check with the FAA  for more information.


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