Washington, D.C. If you’re flying to a holiday get-together, here are some tips from the U.S. Transportation Security Administration to help speed your way through airport security screening.
• Do not gift-wrap carry-on items. Security officers are required to remove the wrapping paper. Wrapped gifts should be packed in your checked bags, according to TSA spokesman Christopher White.
• Do not bring remote-controlled toys as carry-on luggage. “Unfortunately in this world we live in, terrorists have an interest in using remote-controlled detonators,” White said. You can put them in checked bags.
• Pies (and other food, such as gingerbread, cookies and the like) are permitted as carry-on items. “It doesn’t matter the consistency, though we may perform some additional scrutiny on the passenger or the plate,” White said.
• Jams and jellies are considered gels and are therefore subject to the 3-1-1 rules if brought as carry-on items: They must be in containers no bigger than 3 ounces, and they must all fit in one one-quart clear zip-top plastic bag. (Otherwise, wrap them carefully to prevent breakage, and put them with your checked bags.)
• Every airport in the country with more than one security lane now has a designated “family lane,” but you don’t need to be traveling with children to use it, according to TSA spokesman Christopher White. These lanes are open to any travelers who don’t want to be rushed, whether due to special needs, or just wanting a few more minutes to remove shoes and coats, open up laptops and deal with other items. Travelers carrying medically necessary liquids over 3 ounces (such as diabetics) should also use the family lanes, White said.
• Good news for the future: Checkpoint X-ray machines are being upgraded with advanced technology that can distinguish between liquid explosives and beverages, so “we are considering making changes some time in 2009” on the ban on liquids over 3 ounces, White said.
See more information at www.tsa.gov.