WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — If you’re taking to the skies this holiday season – you don’t want to be the person that holds up the line at the security checkpoint.
With Christmas just days away, many travelers were seen carrying gifts Thursday at T.F. Green Airport. While wrapped presents are allowed on planes, the Transportation Security Administration strongly encourages to leave them unwrapped until after you’ve reached your destination.
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To make things as easy as possible for your trips through airports this holiday season, follow these tips from the TSA:
Arrive at least two hours early
The TSA suggests you arrive at least two hours before the scheduled departure time for your domestic flight. This should give you plenty of time to park, collect your boarding pass, check your baggage, and move through the security checkpoint.
Prepare for security
The TSA recommends having a valid ID and boarding pass out and to remove large electronics – including laptops and video game systems – and all liquids from carry-on baggage. Also, consider checking bags when possible.
Consider the TSA pre-check program
The program is a membership that puts you through a background check program. You fill out an application and go through a 10-minute, in-person appointment with the TSA. Cons: It may be too late to get in before your flight for the holidays and it costs $85 for a five-year membership. Pros: It will save a lot of time going through security. You don’t need to take off your shoes or remove laptops and liquids from your carry-on. For those who fly a lot, the membership could be a small price to pay for a major time saver.
Know what can and can’t fly
The last thing you want is to show up at the security checkpoint with something valuable that isn’t allowed to fly. Firearms, firearm parts, realistic replicas of firearms and ammunition can only be in checked baggage and must be stored in a specific way. The best way to avoid the hassle is to check the TSA’s prohibited items list or tweet @AskTSA or ask via Facebook Messenger.
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Here’s a quick list of things that can and can’t fly:
Leave them at home: Carving knives, toys that look like weapons, fuels, flammable paints, fire extinguishers or other compressed gas cylinders, liquid bleach, strike-anywhere matches.
OK to fly: Non-flammable liquid, gel or aerosol (must meet size requirements to carry on), e-cigarettes (carry-on only), safety matches (carry-on only), sharp weapons (checked only).
Food items such as pies, cakes, and bread are permitted as long as they meet the size requirements for carry-on, while items such as alcohol, soups, sauces, jams, jellies, and syrups should be checked or shipped if greater than 3.4 ounces.
Don’t wrap your Christmas presents
Gifts are allowed through the security checkpoint, but TSA agents may have to unwrap certain items for inspection. The TSA says their officers do their best to be delicate and not ruin the wrapping paper, but it’s not a guarantee and it also causes more delays in security lines.
Follow the liquids rule
All liquids, gels, aerosols, creams and pastes must be 3.4 ounces or less and all containers must fit inside a single quart-size plastic bag and be placed in a bin for carry-on baggage screening.
Snow globes are allowed, as long as it contains less than 3.4 ounces of liquid and it’s able to fit inside the same bag as a passenger’s other liquids.
Tape a business card or leave identification on valuable electronics
In case you happen to lose something in an airport or on a flight, having your contact information can expedite the process of having your lost device returned to you.
If you have a question, check with the TSA
It’s common for travelers to have specific questions about the travel process. When in doubt, check with the TSA. They can guide travelers through the easiest ways to travel with a pet or how to properly accommodate a traveler with a medical condition or disability. The TSA hosts a toll-free phone line for these questions at 855-787-2227.
Below is a tutorial video from the TSA with more on what you can and can’t bring on the plane.