Saturday, November 23, 2013

Transiting TSA: a little pre-flight savvy goes a long way



Once past TSA, you might enjoy a drink or cuppa. Here, a business catches up on e-mail at Lindberg Field, San Diego.
TRANSPORTATION Security Administration.
Once you're through TSA, you're on your way!
That's what TSA is.  And it takes its mission seriously! We mourn the death last month of the Los Angeles TSA worker, and appreciate the risk taken by him and his colleagues.
Days ago, we were transporting a valuable silver service set via airplane, delivering it as a gift.
WE HAD done our homework with both TSA and Delta officials, knowing we might encounter raised eyebrows or even refusal to allow us to bring the silver on board.
Here, Keller enjoys a glass of red wine at San Diego's new Delta Sky Club.
WE KNEW we would not be allowed to carry on the carving knife or other sharp, pointed knives and forks.
So we had mailed those ahead.
Our research suggested we ask for a "private screening" and we did so, at Logan Airport in Billings, Montana.  The TSA guy was pleasant and accommodating, asking first why we wanted special attention.
"WE'RE BRINGING a  silver gift to a friend," I said. "It's in a carry-on --   round dinner knives, forks and spoons."
We told him we'd removed the sharp pointed carving knives and large, sharp serving forks. "No problem," said the man.  "We may not even need to open it."
HE RAN the hard-sided carry-on through the x-ray machine twice, then gave us a "thumbs up" and motioned us to proceed.
Your pilot and crew get a pass through the TSA lines and into the cockpit.
Back on with our shoes and belts, scarves and coats (we were bundled up, for we were leaving a Montana storm.)
We retrieved our silver as it slid through the TSA machine, tucked it in the overhead bin for the two flights, had an uneventful flight and took it off the airplane in San Diego, delivering the gift intact and with no further incident.
IT COULD have gone much differently.  I doubt there's a person
Give yourself time to enjoy the artwork and ambiance in each airport.
 alive who's flown since "9-11" who hasn't had to forfeit a sentimental or expensive item to the TSA inspectors.  We've given up silver cork screws, nail grooming sets, sewing kits, small tools and other items we'd forgotten we had in our carry-ons. So give yourself time in case there's a question. Get there with room to relax.
WE'VE ALSO given up lugging around heavy bottles of wine -- now that we're trained to know better.  We also know better than to try carrying on specialty foods that seem at all liquid.
A reminder of the rules:
No liquids over three ounces, no weapons, firearms or sharp objects, gels, tools, candles, flammables.
Keller had to surrender a four-pack of his favorite Costco guacamole last summer -- he was transporting it from San Diego to Montana and it didn't pass inspection.  TSA considered it "liquid or gel." (His eggplant parmesean, however, passed the bomb residue swab test and made it safely to a dinner plate in Big Sky Country.)

Our next post will help travelers
transit TSA in half the time!
COMING NEXT: A new "pre-screen" option allows travelers to transit the security lines without taking off shoes and belts, or removing laptops from their cases.  Find out how to put yourself in the fast lane, next here on the blog.  Remember to explore, learn and live, and check us out Wednesdays and Saturdays at:

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