CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WBOY) – Schools in West Virginia will soon be letting out for spring break, which can create a bit of chaos for travelers and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers. Luckily, the TSA is willing to share a few tips on how to survive moving in and out of West Virginia airports.
“Our TSA officers know a great deal about security checkpoints and they sometimes observe mistakes that travelers make,” said John C. Allen, TSA’s Federal Security Director for West Virginia. “Our officers have an insider’s view of what results in a smooth security screening process and what slows down the process.”
Here are six tips that TSA officers share with family and close friends, according to a TSA release:
- When purchasing a ticket online, enter your full name as it appears on your ID. Do not enter your nick-name. The name on your boarding pass should match the name on your ID.
- Enroll in TSA PreCheck, which allows you to leave on your shoes, belt and light outerwear jacket. It’s typically the lane with travelers who are most familiar with the screening process and so the lane moves quickly.
- Download the free myTSA app. The app has a “What can I bring?” feature that will let you know where to pack an item. It will let you know the estimated wait time at a checkpoint. It lets you know if there are flight delays at your airport; and it will let you know if the TSA PreCheck lane is open.
- Wear shoes that are easy to remove and put back on. Slip-on shoes are best, and remember to wear socks.
- If you find yourself in a checkpoint line, use that time wisely. Remove all items from your pockets and place them into your carry-on bag. Empty your pockets completely. That means everything, even non-metallic items from tissues to breath mints. This helps avoid pat-downs.
- Place your mobile phone inside your carry-on bag at the checkpoint. Don’t put it in a bin where other people have placed their shoes. You don’t want to put your phone in a bin and then hold it up to your face.
Six things TSA officers never do when they are flying, according to the release:
- Do not joke about having an explosive device or claim that you’ve got a bomb with you. The next thing you know, you’ll be having a very serious conversation with a local police officer and you may not make your flight.
- Never put your pet or child through the checkpoint X-ray unit. (Yes, it happens.)
- Never bring your firearm to a security checkpoint. If you want to travel with your gun, the proper way to pack it is unloaded inside a locked hard-sided case and declared at your airline counter for the gun case to be transported in the belly of the aircraft.
- Never use your mouth as an extra hand. Your ID is handled by others and goes into a credential reader along with thousands of other IDs.
- Never place small items directly onto the X-ray belt. Phones, keys, boarding passes and anything else that is small will likely fall between the conveyor belt’s rollers and can be difficult (or impossible) to retrieve. Instead, place these smaller items into a bowl, bin, or better yet—into your carry-on bag.
- Never bring a bottle of water to a security checkpoint, however you can bring an empty water bottle or reusable insulated container with you and then fill it up on the secure side of the checkpoint. It’s a great way to refill it with fresh water, help the environment and save a few bucks by not having to purchase it in the airport.