STILLWATER – For families that may not have a lot of experience with airline travel, here are helpful tips that could possibly cut down on some frustration, said David Davis, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension specialist.
“Going on vacation is an exciting event for families, but sometimes air travel can be stressful, especially if you’re unsure of all the rules put in place by the Transportation Security Administration,” Davis said. “It’s a good idea to know what things TSA regulations allow you to pack in your checked and carry-on baggage. Knowing these things in advance can save time at the airport and lower the stress level.” While planning what to pack in the suitcase that will be checked through to your destination, do not include cash, jewelry, medications, important papers, cameras/computers, other electronics, passports and other identification or items you simply cannot replace.
“Packing these types of items in your carry-on is best in the event your luggage is delayed or lost,” he said. “You don’t want to arrive at your destination without your cash or medications.”
Items packed in carry-ons, such as liquids, gels, creams and pastes, must be 3.4 ounces or less per container. All of these containers must fit in one clear, quart-size, zip-top plastic bag per traveler. Keep this bag at the top of the carry-on or in an outside pocket because it must be removed and placed in a screening bin while going through the security check point. Davis said if you must travel with large quantities of liquids such as medications, baby formula or breast milk, inform the TSA agents at the check point.
“These liquids do not have to fit into a quart-size bag, but TSA officers may need to open them for additional screening,” he said. “If you’re unsure about your liquids, simply pack them in your checked luggage.”
Make sure you leave plenty of time to arrive at the airport early. Parking, getting your family and all the luggage into the airport and checking in can take some time, not to mention the possible lines through security. “It can be extremely stressful if you’re still waiting in the security line and they’re calling for the final boarding of your flight,” Davis said.
If anyone in your travel party has a disability or medical condition, call a day or two ahead of your departure to the TSA Cares toll free helpline to make any needed special arrangements. The number is 1-855-787-2227.
Keep your passport, driver’s license or other identifying papers ready to show TSA agents at the security check. Once you are in line to go through the security line, make sure your pockets are empty. Bulky jewelry, belts, keys and cell phones must be placed in a screening bin. Computers and large electronics also must be removed from your carry-on bag and placed in a bin.
“Following these tips will help ensure you arrive at the airport with everything you left home with,” Davis said. “Once you reach your destination, sit back, relax and enjoy your time together. Just remember these tips for your trip back home.”