TSA Hassles to Avoid During the Holidays

With the holidays around the corner (I know: already?!), it's worth reviewing some of the TSA's new policies so you don't get tripped up at the airport.

  • Secure Flight: This program requires all travelers to submit their full name, date of birth, and gender when booking tickets. TSA uses this information to cross-check the various no-fly and watch lists, and should actually benefit travelers by cutting down on the number of false matches. Travelers must present this information—it's the only way to get a boarding pass—and will only hurt themselves if they submit incorrect info.
  • Enhanced pat downs: Perhaps the best-known new TSA policy is the enhanced pat down, a far more thorough version of the standard pat down. Travelers who trigger the metal detector or refuse a body scanner must go through this secondary screening process. There has been widespread backlash against the policy, culminating in a potential protest on November 24 in which travelers would opt-out of the scanners in favor of pat downs, thereby grinding the process to a halt.
  • Belts off: In addition to shoes, belts must now be removed, even those with non-metallic belt buckles. Apparently belts interfere with body scanners. No body scanner at your checkpoint? Doesn't matter. That belt is probably coming off anyway.
  • Macbook Air: Unlike other laptops, the new 11-inch Macbook Air does not need to be removed at screening.

Readers, what are you looking out for this holiday season?

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