Top tips from TSA for quickest security checks
Monday, Nov. 19, 2012
By Gene Wexler

For those heading to the airport this week for the Thanksgiving or December holidays, the Transportation Safety Administration is offering some tips to help speed up security checks.

“The biggest thing that I always tell people is to make sure they unpack their bag prior to packing it,” said Ed Goodwin, federal security director for TSA.

He said that’s because some people don’t realize they have a prohibited item in their bag until they go through security and get caught, delaying everyone in line.

At Jacksonville International Airport on Monday, Goodwin gave a number of suggestions all meant to speed up security checkpoints.

"For a passenger to save up to one minute, that kind of thing by the end of the year adds up to hours and hours and hours of extra screening," he said.

He says to remember the “3-1-1 rule.”  Travelers can only bring on the plane 3.4 ounces of liquids, gels or aerosols that fit in a 1-quart bag.  One bag allowed per person.

If you’re bringing gifts for the holidays, the TSA recommends you do not wrap them before heading to the airport.

Make sure to double check your luggage for any of the prohibited items, including weapons. Goodwin says people who hunt will often leave things in their bag unbeknownst to the person who packs other things in it for the plane.

He also recommends that travelers don’t wear big boots or belts with large buckles on them.

Don’t forget to have any important papers with you at all times: boarding pass, ID, passport, etc.

Goodwin says travelers should be standing on line for the security checkpoint about an hour and a half before their flight is supposed to leave.

The TSA wants more people to be aware of a program they have for travelers with disabilities, travelers with medical needs, or single parents.

“We’ll be happy to assign a TSA officer to you specifically to get you through the process,” Goodwin said.