Traveling soon? 5 tips to stay healthy when going through TSA checkpoints
Are you preparing to travel for spring break? Though the CDC advises against non-essential travel, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has some advice for passengers who do fly about what they can do to be prepared for airport screenings during the pandemic.
Here are five tips from the TSA that will help you stay healthy and secure when going through the process.
1. Reduce touchpoints - When it’s time to walk through the checkpoint screening equipment, travelers need to remove all items from their pockets. Instead of tossing them into a bin provided by the airport, put those items (keys, wallet, cell phone, lip balm, etc.) into your carry-on bag. If the checkpoint has a computed tomography scanner, travelers may leave their electronics inside their carry-on bag, so pay attention to the guidance that the TSA officer is providing about what items can remain in your carry-on bag.
2. Pack an extra mask. If you're headed to the airport, you are required to wear a mask. So, it's important to pack an extra one in case a strap breaks or it gets dirty. If you aren't wearing a mask at the security checkpoint, a TSA officer will remind you to put it on. Refusal to do so means you will not be permitted through the checkpoint.
3. Bring hand sanitizer and wipes. The TSA is allowing travelers to bring up to ONE 12-ounce container of liquid hand sanitizer per person through the checkpoint. Additionally, individuals can bring sanitizing wipes through checkpoints. And remember to use them!
4. Pack smart. It important to know what items should not be packed in a carry-on bag, because if a carry-on bag triggers an alarm, it will require a TSA officer to open your bag. To reduce touchpoints during a pandemic, be sure not to pack any prohibited items. Not sure what items are prohibited? Download the free myTSA app, which has a "What can I bring?" feature that allows you to type in the item to find out if it can fly.
5. Pack food in a clear plastic bag. If you plan to travel with food, it's a best practice to pack your food items in a clear plastic bag and place that clear plastic bag into your carry-on bag. When you get to the security checkpoint, remove the clear bag containing your food and place that bag into the bin to reduce the opportunity for cross-contamination between the food and bins. Some food items can trigger an alarm during screening, so instead of a TSA officer needing to open a carry-on bag to check on what triggered the alarm, removing your food reduces the likelihood of the need for a bag search.