With more people going to airports again, and the TSA scrambling to hire more employees (would YOU want to work at a place that treats their workers like this?) the lines at the security checkpoints are getting longer and longer.
Having CLEAR and TSA PreCheck are both excellent ways to bypass a good portion of the line. And with PreCheck you don’t even have to worry about preparing as many things before you go through an X-ray.
These are some ways to get through the X-ray process as quickly and seamlessly as possible. And passengers have offered their own ideas of a cheap, easy fix for the long queues. However there are a few items you could have in your pockets, or in your carry on or personal bag – ones that you may not think would be a problem – that could get flagged for a time consuming secondary inspection by hand:
The liquids, gels and paste you don’t think of
The 3-1-1 rule (3.4 ounces in 1 bag that’s 1 quart-sized) is for more than the typical liquids, toothpaste and non-solid deodorants. It also includes things like peanut butter. Snow globes. Those jars of jam, mustard and honey you got at the farmer’s market. The thing of slime your kid bought. If TSA agents see those, they’re going to want to investigate what those mystery liquids/gels/pastes are.
Travel & Leisure has an excellent article called, “Seven Tips for Getting Your Sex Toys Through Airport Security.” And because of that, I don’t need to say another word.
Well, except, on a related topic, don’t let this happen to you!
Not telling them about your meds
This also goes up there with the “liquid” thing. You’re allowed to bring more than 3.4 ounces of liquids, gels, etc. and it doesn’t have to be in your quart-sized bag if it’s medication. Cough syrup. Your kid’s antibiotic. Your Voltaren gel for your arthritis. Stuff like that. But if you don’t tell the TSA officer before your stuff goes through X-ray that you’re carrying that non-solid medication, they’re just going to see a big container of liquid and they’re going to want to go through your bag to check it out.
Some people enjoy buying coffee beans from places they’ve visited. PJ’s Coffee out of New Orleans is a good example. So is Joffrey’s, which a lot of people buy when they’re at Walt Disney World. Or the coffee you’ll encounter while you visit Seattle, Hawaii or Costa Rica.
Problem is that smugglers sometimes use coffee to mask the smell of drugs. So a carry-on bag with a lot of coffee in it could get flagged for swab tests.
This happens a lot during the December holiday season, but any time you have a wrapped gift – for a birthday, wedding, Mother’s or Father’s day, etc., if they can’t see what’s in the box because of the wrapping paper, the TSA officers are going to delay you while the package is unwrapped.
Carrying a load of cash
If you enter the U.S., you’re allowed to carry up to $10,000 and have to declare the rest. However, that’s not a TSA issue. If you’re flying domestically, you can technically carry as much cash as you’d like. However the TSA reserves the right to stop and ask you about how/why you’re carrying so much money with you. Furthermore, if they think the money is thanks to criminal activity, they can also get law enforcement involved right then and there.
The MyTSA app can help with the age-old question of, “Can I bring this on the plane?” But you kind of have to have it in your head to look up if your PBJ sandwich or that bag of Kona coffee are smart things to bring on the plane with you or not.
I suppose if you have some more “unusual” things that you just KNOW are going to get flagged by the TSA, you could just leave a note in your carry-on, with an explanation, like this guy did. But if that’s the case, make sure to give yourself extra time to spend at the checkpoint.; -)
Feature Photo: TSA
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary