Tips for Traveling Under Increased Security


Flight Delay Information - Air Traffic Control System Command Center.

New, click here for an updated list of prohibited items on flights.

Current requirements for carry-ons.

Travel Document Systems. This site can tell you what documents you need to enter a country and how long you can stay. It provides country overviews and advice about health and safety concerns for more than 100 countries.

CNN's Travel Page includes "Travel Advisor" with news, advisories and warnings. "Travel News" has breaking stories from around the world.

Before Travel

Reconfirm your flights 24 to 48 hours before travel by calling either the airlines directly or your travel agent. E-Tickets remain available and secure.

Packing and Dressing Smart

To allow screeners more time to scrutinize bags, new federal directives allow only two carry-on items: one bag no bigger than 7 inches by 12 inches by 21 inches, and one personal item such as a purse, small backpack, briefcase, laptop computer or shopping bag. A stroller, pillow or diaper bag constitutes a personal item.

Please make sure your carry-on does not contain any sharp objects or other items not allowed beyond security.

Carrying gifts?

It’s a good idea to put wrapped gifts in your checked luggage. Leave gifts unwrapped if carrying on the plane.

Minimize the metal you wear. Big belt buckles, clothing with studs/metal buttons, lots of jewelry, metal in toes and heels of some shoes/boots set off detectors requiring further searches.

Place important medications in your carry-on items.

Put your name, address and phone number on all of your luggage and carry-on items.

How early should you arrive?

The time you need to arrive can vary based on time of day and whether you are traveling internationally. On average we recommend a minimum arrival time of 1 hour prior to your departure on domestic flights. 2 hours on International flights. Please contact your airline if in doubt.

Ticket Counter Check-In

Government-issued ID (federal, state, or local) is required along with your ticket. Children age 16 and under do not need ID. Be prepared to answer questions about your bags.

Going Through Federal Security Checkpoints

Ticketed passengers only; please be ready to present your ticket. If you are traveling with an e-ticket, it is helpful to have a computer printout showing the travel date. Children traveling alone or travelers in need of assistance because of medical reasons may be accompanied to or from the gate. Contact your airline in advance to help arrange a gate pass that can be picked up the day of travel.

Sharp objects are not allowed

If a sharp object is discovered and you wish to keep this item, you may check your bag at the airline ticket counter.

Heavy coats must be removed and placed on the screening machine belt. Place cell phones, hand held games, CD players and other electronic items in your carry-on for screening.

Put keys and pocket change in your bag. Take a laptop computer out of its case. Place both on screening machine belt. Don't forget to attach ID to your computer - taping a businesscard on it works great! If the screening equipment “beeps,” you will be directed to a second station for additional screening. Some travelers at the secondary station may be asked to remove their shoes and hats. Please remember to pick up all of your items and luggage.

How to Pack

Remove anything from your carry-on luggage that could be considered or perceived as threatening or may raise suspicion at a security screening checkpoint. This includes items found in manicure kits. No knives of any size will be accepted.

Anticipate having to open a bag for security inspection. Avoid over packing so that carry-on luggage (and checked suitcases) open and close with ease.

Bring E-Ticket confirmation to the airport. You will no longer be allowed to the gate without it.

Getting to the Airport

Expect restricted airport parking. New regulations have customers parking farther from the terminal. You will not be allowed to leave any car unattended near the departure gate areas.

Leave no vehicle or bag unattended for any length of time.

E-Ticket and paper ticket customers with luggage must proceed to the ticket counter. Maintain luggage receipts for verification and collection of your luggage at destination.

Keep ticket paperwork and ID available.

Expect to see teams of individuals board the aircraft before general passenger boarding in order to sweep the aircraft as an added security precaution. They may board from inside or outside the terminal building.

Pay attention to announcements. Board the aircraft as directed by gate agents. Do not wait until the last minute to board the aircraft.

Onboard the Aircraft

Expect to see random searches of service personnel, flight crews and equipment.

Listen to and follow crew instructions at all times. Flight crews are trained to ensure passenger safety and comfort.

Be patient if departure is delayed.

Upon Arrival at Destination

Proceed through the terminal beyond security. Meeting parties will be restricted to areas outside security checkpoints.

Have baggage claim checks ready when retrieving luggage for identification.

Thank you for working with the airport and airline crew to help make your journey safe and comfortable.

The following is a list of items forbidden on any British Airlines flight and should be helpful in understanding what all the airlines are concerned about in your carry-on luggage.

  • Toy or replica guns (plastic or metal)
  • Household cutlery
  • Knives with blades of any length (including nail files)
  • Paper knives
  • Razor blades (even in shaving kits)
  • Tradesman tools
  • Darts
  • Scissors of any size
  • Hypodermic syringes*
  • Knitting needles
  • Sporting bats (including rackets, cricket bats and golf clubs)
  • Billiard, snooker or pool cues
  • Slingshots
  • Corkscrews with blades attached

*Customers who require the use of hypodermic needles for medical reason will be asked for proof of medical need.

We cannot stress enough the seriousness of the situation and the need for your patience and the extreme inadvisability of making jokes about any of these measures. The airlines are trying to insure that you arrive at your destination safely. Your willingness to comply with the new rules will help move everyone along in the process.

[ Return to Top of Page ]