Federal Officials Offer Airport Travel Tips

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Federal officials are offering some tips to make traveling easier during the holiday season.

They said people should pack as lightly as possible and avoid wearing a lot of jewelry. Otherwise, they may have to take the jewelry off as they pass through security checkpoints.

Airport officials across Alabama said travelers also should not wrap presents. Otherwise, you might find yourself unwrapping the presents in order to get them through security.

Travelers also are advised not to pack food or beverages in luggage because the items can be mistaken for explosives by bomb-detection machines.

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Security Tips for Air Travelers

Before You Leave

When you are preparing for your trip, remember to pack smart — pack safe. You cannot bring the items listed below with you or with carry-on luggage.

  • Knives of any length, composition, or description.

  • All cutting and puncturing instruments. This includes pocketknives, carpet knives and box cutters, ice picks, straight razors, metal scissors and metal nail files.

  • Corkscrews.

  • Athletic equipment that could be used as a weapon, such as baseball/softball bats, golf clubs, pool cues, ski poles, and hockey sticks.

  • Fireworks - signal flares, sparklers, or other explosives.

  • Flammable liquids or solids - fuel, paints, lighter refills, matches.

  • Household items - drain cleaners and solvents.

  • Pressure containers - spray cans, butane fuel, scuba tanks, propane tanks, CO2 cartridges, and self-inflating rafts.

  • Weapons - firearms, ammunition, gunpowder, mace, tear gas, or pepper spray.

  • Other hazardous materials: dry ice, gasoline-powered tools, wet-cell batteries, camping equipment with fuel, radioactive materials (except limited quantities), poisons, and infectious substances.

  • Beware - many common items used everyday in the home or workplace may seem harmless, however, when transported by air, they can be very dangerous. In flight, variations in temperature and pressure can cause items to leak, generate toxic fumes or start a fire.

  • Personal care items containing hazardous materials (e.g., flammable perfume, aerosols) totaling no more than 70 ounces may be carried on board. Contents of each container may not exceed 16 fluid ounces.

  • Matches and lighters may only be carried on your person. However, "strike-anywhere" matches, lighters with flammable liquid reservoirs, and lighter fluid are forbidden.

  • Firearms and ammunition may not be carried by a passenger on an aircraft. However, unloaded firearms may be transported in checked baggage if declared to the agent at check in and packed in a suitable container. Handguns must be in a locked container. Boxed small arms ammunition for personal use may be transported in checked luggage. Amounts may vary depending on the airline.

  • Dry ice (4 pounds or less) for packing perishables, may be carried on board an aircraft provided the package is vented.

  • Electric wheelchairs must be transported in accordance with airline requirements. The battery may need to be disconnected, removed, and the terminals insulated to prevent short circuits.

  • Leave gifts unwrapped. Airline security personnel will open gifts if the X-ray scan cannot
    determine the contents.

  • If in doubt, don't pack it.

Allow Extra Time

  • Arrive early. Heightened airport security measures increase the time needed to check in. Arriving at the airport two hours before your flight’s scheduled departure is advisable, however, passengers may want to consult with their airline for more specific arrival times. Build in even more time at the airport if traveling with young children, infants, or persons with disabilities.

  • Consider taking public transportation to the airport, if possible. Parking and curbside
    access will be controlled and limited.

  • Curbside check-in is available only at specific locations. Contact your airline to see if it is available for your flight.

  • Do not leave your car unattended in front of the terminal. Security measures dictate that unattended cars will be towed.

At the Airport

  • Watch your bags and personal belongings at all times.

  • Do not accept packages from strangers.

  • If you see unattended bags or packages anywhere in the airport terminal or parking
    area, immediately report them to a security officer or other authority.

  • Report any suspicious activities or individuals in the airport or parking lot to airport security.

  • Don't joke about having a bomb or firearm. Don't discuss terrorism, weapons, explosives, or other threats while going through the security checkpoint. The mere mention of words such as "gun," "bomb," etc., can compel security personnel to detain and question you. They are trained to consider these comments as real threats.

Checking In

  • Adult passengers must bring a government-issued photo ID. The FAA requires that air carriers request government-issued identification, such as a driver’s license or draft card, if the passenger appears old enough to have an ID. If a government-issued photo ID is not
    available, bring two pieces of ID, one of which must be from a governmental authority.

  • E-ticket travelers should check with their airline to make sure they have proper

  • Automated kiosks are available for airlines that have appropriate security measures in
    place. Travelers interested in this option should check with their airlines.

  • Be prepared to answer questions about your bags. When asked who packed your bags and if you might have left them unattended at anytime, think carefully and answer the questions honestly. Criminals may use unsuspecting passengers to carry bombs or other dangerous items onto aircraft.

  • Be cooperative as screeners ask to hand-search your bags. Security personnel will search a bag if the x-ray scan cannot determine its contents.

Screener Checkpoints

  • Travelers are limited to one carry-on bag and one personal item (e.g., purse or briefcase).It is highly recommended that travelers avoid bringing gift wrapped items beyond the screening checkpoints. Gift-wrapped items can be checked.

  • Only ticketed passengers are allowed beyond the screener checkpoints, unless a passenger requires parental oversight or must be accompanied by a medical assistant.

  • Electronic items, such as laptop computers and cell phones, may be subjected to
    additional screening. Be prepared to remove your laptop from its travel case so it
    can be X-rayed separately.

On the Airplane

  • Listen carefully to the flight attendant’s safety instructions. Note where the closest exit to your seat is located.

  • Wear your seat belt.

  • Report unattended items to your flight attendant.

Source: The Federal Aviation Administration