Dress to make it simple to get through metal detectors. Avoid clothes with metal buttons, or heavy metal jewelry. Remove metal body piercings, or replace them with acrylic or other non-metallic plugs.
Arrive early…airlines recommend two hours in advance for domestic flights and three for international flights.
Place your wallet, cell phone, eyeglasses, keys, watch, jewelry, essential medications and other valuables in a purse or carry-on bag before you get to the checkpoint. Make sure you have no items in your pockets. The carry-on or purse will be run through an X-ray machine while you either go through a metal detector or a body scanner.
As you approach the TSA document check station, have your boarding pass and ID…a drivers’ license or passport in hand. Fumbling at the last minute is not a good idea.
Remove shoes and place them directly on the X-ray-machine belt for quick screening. Remove coats, jackets and belts with large buckles and place them in a bin. Remove computers and large electronics from their cases and place them in a separate bin.
Remember the 3-1-1 rule: 3.4-ounce containers of liquids, gels or aerosol should be placed in a 1-quart-sized clear, zipped, plastic bag, with a limit of one bag per passenger.
Leave food items at home. Among those prohibited: Cranberry sauce; creamy dips and spreads such as cheeses and peanut butter; gift baskets with food items; gravy, jams and jellies; oils and vinegars; salsa, soups, wine, liquor and beer.
If you are taking gifts…leave unwrapped, especially if they are in your carry-on bag.
Be ready to be selected for the new body-scanner machine instead of the metal detector. If you set off the metal detector, you may be sent for a body scan. You can choose an enhanced pat-down instead.
For a full list of prohibited items and for more holiday travel tips, visit the TSA’s web site, www.tsa.gov.