Pack Efficiently for Air Travel

Passengers Waiting To Board Airplane

Pack Smart

Carry-on baggage is a small piece of luggage you take onboard the airplane with you. You are allowed one carry-on in addition to one personal item such as a laptop computer, purse, small backpack, briefcase, or camera case. TSA will screen any "Carry-on" baggage that will fit through the x-ray machine, however, it is up to each individual air carrier as to whether the baggage fits the size restrictions for your flight. Please check with the air carrier prior to proceeding through the security checkpoints. LABEL your laptop computer. Tape a business card or other identifying information beneath your laptop to avoid loss or the accidental "exchange" by travelers.

Checked Baggage is luggage you check in at the ticket counter or at curbside. It will not be accessible during your flight. Please refrain from locking your checked baggage or use a TSA "Accepted and Recognized" lock. If your baggage alarms and TSA cannot gain access to your checked bag, unrecognized lock may be broken.

Below are a number of tips for packing your checked baggage that will help to speed your trip and ensure that your checked bag makes the flight with you

  • Don't put film in your checked baggage, as the screening equipment will damage it.
  • Pack shoes, boots, sneakers, and other footwear on top of other contents in your luggage.
  • Avoid over-packing your bag so that the screener will be able to easily reseal your bag if it is opened for inspection. If possible, spread your contents over several bags. Check with your airline or travel agent for maximum weight limitations.
  • Avoid packing food and drink items in checked baggage.
  • Don't stack piles of books or documents on top of each other; spread them out within your baggage.

The following general packing tips apply to both carry-on and checked baggage and will help you to move through the screening process more quickly:

  • Do NOT pack or bring prohibited items to the airport. See permitted and prohibited items.
  • Put all undeveloped film and cameras with film in your carry-on baggage. If your bag will pass through the X-ray machine more than 5 times ask for a hand inspection to prevent damage.
  • Check ahead of time with your airline or travel agent to determine the airline's baggage policy, including number of pieces you can bring and size and weight limitations.
  • Carry-on baggage is limited to one carry-on bag plus one personal item. Personal items include laptops, purses, small backpacks, briefcases, or camera cases. Remember, 1+1.
  • Don't forget to place identification tags with your name, address and phone number on all of your baggage, including your laptop computer. It is a good idea to place an identification tag inside your baggage as well.
  • Avoid overpacking so that your articles don't spill out if your bag is opened for inspection.
  • Think carefully about the personal items you place in your carry-on baggage. The screeners may have to open your bag and examine its contents.
  • Consider putting personal belongings in clear plastic bags to reduce the chance that a TSA screener will have to handle them.
  • Wait to wrap your gifts. Be aware that wrapped gifts may need to be opened for inspection. This applies to both carry-on and checked baggage.

    Prohibited items are weapons, explosives, incendiaries, and include items that are seemingly harmless but may be used as weapons-the so-called "dual use" items. You may not bring these items to security checkpoints without authorization. If you bring a prohibited item to the checkpoint, you may be criminally and/or civilly prosecuted or, at the least, asked to rid yourself of the item. A screener and/or Law Enforcement Officer will make this determination, depending on what the item is and the circumstances. This is because bringing a prohibited item to a security checkpoint-even accidentally-is illegal. Your prohibited item may be detained for use in an investigation and, if necessary, as evidence in your criminal and/or civil prosecution. If permitted by the screener or Law Enforcement Officer, you may be allowed to: consult with the airlines for possible assistance in placing the prohibited item in checked baggage; withdraw with the item from the screening checkpoint at that time; make other arrangements for the item, such as taking it to your car; or, voluntarily abandon the item. Items that are voluntarily abandoned cannot be recovered and will not be returned to you.

    Look and Listen - Be Smart - Be Vigilant. Security awareness is everyone's responsibility. To ensure that your travel is safe, secure and efficient, take time to make security awareness an integral part of your travel experience.

    General Guidelines:

  • Be aware of suspicious activity in and around your immediate surroundings. Inform the proper authorities if you are concerned about an unattended item or suspicious activity in and around any facility.
  • Be extra careful if you work on your laptop. Working takes your attention away from your surroundings.
  • Describe suspicious device(s). Visual check only. Do NOT touch object
  • Do NOT use your cell phone within 50 feet of a suspicious item
  • Remember to control all carry-on bags and keep your items and tickets with you at all times. Medicines, cash, jewelry, business papers and valuables should be packed in carry-on bags.
  • Never leave anything unattended as it could be subjected to tampering and/or theft.
  • Never carry anything for another person, especially for someone you do not know.
  • For more information on security, please refer to the resources section or contact your transportation provider directly.

    Courtesy of the Transportation Security Administration