What’s in your carry-on?
Ann Davis, the Northeast public affairs manager for the Transportation Security Administration, has a few suggestions to help get you through the checkpoint as quickly as possible, particularly during the holidays, when traffic is up and more “casual,” or infrequent, travelers will be standing carry-on-to-carry-on with you in longer-than- usual lines.
1. Remove your laptop from its carrying case, and take phones, DVD players, cameras, iPods, and any other portable electronic devices out of your pocket, purse, or bag. Tape your business card or an ID tag with name and phone number on to such items to differentiate yours from the next guy’s, and also so that if you leave something by accident, security officers can call you to return it.
2. Make sure to empty your pockets of anything metal, including keys and loose change, and to take off watches or large jewelry that might set off the metal detector (keep your rings on). Davis suggests placing such items in your carry-on rather than in the “dog bowls” on security tables, to avoid possibly leaving them behind as you rush to exit the screening area.
3. All together now: Make sure all liquids, gels, and aerosols in your carry-on are in containers of 3 ounces or less, and pack them all together in a 1-quart clear plastic zip-top bag.
4. Give your bags a thorough going-over before packing for your trip. “You wouldn’t believe how many people say, ‘Oh, I went camping last weekend, and I didn’t realize I still had a knife in my backpack,’ ” says Davis. If you do find yourself at the airport with a banned item and don’t want to surrender it, look for a Massport mailbox kiosk right outside the checkpoint and send it home.
5. Keep an eye out for special lanes for expert travelers, casual travelers, and families or those needing special assistance. If you know the drill, get in the expert lane. If you don’t, don’t.
6. Be prepared to take off your shoes, belt, outer coat or blazer, scarf, and hat. Place shoes directly on the conveyor belt rather than in a bin with your other items.