I dreamed about TSA last night.

I KNOW! I was as weirded out as you are right now.  Who does that?!?

No, I’m not secretly wishing to hangout at an airport.
No, I don’t have a crush on a TSA agent.
Noooo, I don’t want to see one naked, although with the see-through-your-clothes scanners, I’m sure that there are a few 65/35 polyester/cotton blend, blue-grey shirt wearing security screeners that have seen a radi-ized version of me (and yes, I’m making up words now. You can do that when you write your own blog. Fun perk, I know).

So, for whatever reason the TSA is invading my sleep.

TSA security is part of every work day for me, so maybe I shouldn’t be so shocked that my mind habitually reverts to the daily grind.  My experiences with TSA are not nightmarish, but for some travelers, encountering the lines at security, taking off belts, jackets, shoes, raising arms, pat-downs, liquids, laptops, radiation, and the rest, brings on cold sweats and hyperventilation.  Wheewww! Just reading that was a nightmare.

I was traveling last week for fun, meaning that I was a “passenger”, having to wait in security lines, experiencing flight delays, changed gates, toting a few two many carry-ons…you get the picture.   It was exhausting. I felt out of my element.  I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing, and I didn’t like it.  No wonder most of my passengers seem frazzled and frayed on those early morning, LAX departures.  It’s a tough job being a passenger!

I’ve noticed that security can vary from one airport to another, and even from one terminal to another.  In certain terminals, my badge will set off security, or I don’t have to remove my shoes, or I need to place my shoes directly on the screening belt and not in a bin.  And putting liquids in a plastic baggy?  Yeah.  I think that rule still stands for the most part, and the no liquids through security definitely does if you aren’t a uniformed crew member.  TSA rules actually state that you may leave iPads in their cases as well as MacBook Airs, but depending on which airport, which day, or which TSA agent, your actual experience may be different.  It’s just better to be ready with shoes off, belts in bins, and coins and keys out of pockets.

If you would like to make your trip from airline ticket counter to cozy airline seat a more organized and smooth experience, read on.  This post is all about TSA, and airport security, informing you on how to make your next airport experience a breeze.

The TSA, and no, it’s not an acronymn for “Thousands Standing Around,” but actually the Transportation Security Administration, which is a federal government agency that oversees security for highways, railroads, buses, mass transit systems, pipelines, and ports, but the bulk of the TSA’s efforts are in aviation security.  The TSA is solely responsible for screening passengers and checked and carry-on baggage at 450 U.S. airports.

When traveling, know what you can and what you can’t pack in your carry-on suitcase.

TSA is now rolling out this program at big airports called, Precheck, and basically, $100 will let you bypass the hassle.  It makes me wonder if security is the joke that some people claim.

Tips to lessen the headache of the security screening process

  • Be a godzillionair and fly in your own private jet.
  • Work for an airline.  Be a uniformed crew member.  Usually there is a crew line.
  • Fly first class.  Crew security lines are often include the First Class Travelers line.
  • Apply for TSA Pre-Check program
  • You have the legal right to opt out of the security screen, and instead you will be personally screened by a TSA agent.  You also have the right to request that this be done in a private room, with a witness, if you so choose.
  • Make-sure water bottles are empty when going through security (no liquids).  Fill up your water bottle after passing through the check point.
  • Only liquids under 3 ounces, in a ziplock bag.  (no jars of peanut butter or honey).
  • Rules for parents traveling with children are a bit different.
  • Shoes off.
  • No sharp objects (no metal forks, spoons, or obviously knives.  There will be plastic utensils after passing security so that you can eat your lunch).
  • Just take your electronics out of the case and put them in a bin all by themselves.
  • Consolidate your bags and your stuff.  I have seen many forgotten cell phones, laptops, and jackets because travelers have too much to keep track of.
  • Security in small airports usually closes 45 minutes before a flight departure.  Security in large airports can take 45 minutes to get through.  Give yourself time, so you aren’t acting like a goose on the loose (click here for a definition).
  • Don’t try to put your clothes back on right where the bag screening happens.  This causes chaos, commotion, and confusion.  Grab your stuff, walk a few steps out of the way so that you do not hold up other passengers.
And most importantly,
  • Be nice to the TSA agents.  They have to deal with a lot of people, and some very grumpy ones every single day.  Seriously, how would you feel if you were on the other side?

Overall, TSA was implemented and exists for travelers safety.  When you feel like complaining what you interpret as an inconvenience remember that it is for your safety and the safety of those around you, and be thankful for your freedom.

Wish you all safe and headache free travels!

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