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Airport Security Rules

What's new in the sky?

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TSA Xray Machine Picture - TSA Backscatter Body Imaging Picture - image from the TSA showing body

TSA Xray Machine Picture Backscatter, Body Imaging at Airports

© TSA
----> Read about the TSA backscatter body imaging machines; see the "Latest TSA News" link below or "How to Pack for Airport Security" for more. And on to the rest of what you need to know:

Stay Current on Banned Airport Security Items

The list of items banned or limited by the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) from being carried on airlines includes things you might not think twice about carrying on board but upon which airport security screeners will hone in; sharp weapons are obvious no-no's, but things you may not consider dangerous weapons may be on the list, like spare lithium batteries do note that the lithium ion batteries in your cell phone and laptop are fine).

For instance, pepper spray is a baddie; formerly banned fingernail clippers are now permitted (get a set without an attached metal file). If it can be used as a weapon, it's likely a no go. Some items, like ice picks, are a no-brainer no-no, but know that you must also check the hockey stick and corkscrew. I remembered the hard way in summer 2006 that lighters were banned, although lighters were once again okay as of August 4, 2007 (once the TSA deduced that the agency was spending millions of dollars and manhours confiscating up to 39,000 lighters a day).

The TSA-banned items in your carry on can get you fined and even prosecuted, even if you brought 'em accidentally. In scenarios less common now than just after 9/11 airport security crackdowns, you may wind up on a no-fly list or be unable to board if you are carrying a banned item in your carry-on.

See what's up with TSA's airport security information and list of permitted and prohibited items -- save yourself some potential difficulties while you pad through security in your socks (you must have your shoes X-rayed at airport security...and what's up with that, anyway? Learn more about shoe bombing stuff and why you have to take your shoes off and your laptop out at airport security: "Laptops and Airport Screening".)

What's Up With Lithium Batteries?

Effective January 1, 2008, the Department of Transportation (DOT) will no longer allow loose lithium batteries in checked baggage; loose, spare lithium batteries must be packed in carry-on baggage. The lithium ion batteries inside your camera, phone and laptop are almost certainly okay and you can carry spares in your carry spares in your carry on or in certain ways in checked bags. Limitations on amount, packaging, type (metal vs. ion), lithium content and size of lithium batteries are complicated, but (essentially);
  • You may not pack loose lithium batteries in your checked baggage
  • You may pack spare lithium batteries in carry-on baggage
  • You may not bring gigundo lithium metal batteries, period (which you're unlikely to even own, anyway)
Learn more:

Mail Banned Items Home From the Airport

Services at some airports can now mail banned items home for you at a cost of about $14 -- they're located near airport security in some airports if you find yourself accidentally carrying a banned item. If you actually go through security with a no-no and your bag is searched and a banned item subsequently found, the TSA screener will decide whether you're allowed to exit security and make arrangements for mailing it home.

Packing for Airport Security

Current TSA rules are causing many travelers to check baggage - learn about lost luggage -- how to avoid lost luggage and what to do about lost luggage:

Learning how to pack for airport security is quite a pain, but it's gotta be done. Get some airport security packing tips:

What About Those X-Ray Machines?

It's true -- the TSA can now see you naked. X-ray body imaging machines at airports, called backscatter devices, are being used at a whole lotta airports (see: "Which Airports Have Full Body Scanners?"). The machines are intended to replace the physical pat-down some passengers receive, and passengers will have a choice between the machine that sends images of the bodies under clothing to a TSA agent located 50-100 feet away from the scannee, or the pat-down. The TSA promises that images won't be saved or printed unless the passenger poses a threat to national security. Learn more:

And just what will the TSA see when it sees passengers naked?

Readers Respond: What's the Worst Part of Airport Security Rules?

Sound Off!

Archived Air Travel News: But I don't want the TSA to see me naked... | London Terrorist Threat Causes Changes in Airport Security | Laptops and Airport Screening | Air Travel Escalating Into Hassle Travel | Services Mail Banned Airport Items Home

Return to Packing | Return to Travel Gear | Return to Student Travel

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and enjoy the journey."
--Babs Hoffman

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