The Homeland Security Status is yellow, the “elevated” rate on the national alert scale. Extra security will meet you before you’re even parked, asking you to pop the trunk so they can take a look. If you’re not parking in a lot or garage, plan a quick exit from the cab or car — they’re tougher than ever on folks who think they can put it in park and take their time hauling people and bags out and saying their farewells in the passenger drop-off and baggage-claim areas. Once inside the airport, there’ll be no saying “howdy” to a friend coming in from their flight or waiting at the gate to leave — nobody gets past the airport’s security checkpoint without your own boarding pass. With the national terror attack warning raised this week to the second-highest level on the Homeland Security scale, check that luggage if you can; it’ll make the security and boarding process faster and easier on you, as well as the Transportation Security workers at the airport, large or small. Even before the “terror alert” was raised this week, the nation’s Transportation Security Agency had worked long and hard on a list of what’s naughty and nice to carry on an airplane. Fingernail clippers are just fine. But you wouldn’t believe what people carry from one place to another, and it’s even stranger than this week’s incident in Miami in which a man claimed he “forgot” he had a hacksaw blade in his shoe when confronted at a checkpoint. Surf for yourself to www.tsa.gov and check the list of “prohibited items,” though there seem to be more items allowed than banned any more. For the teen who’d love a “Lord of the Rings replica” battle sword, no problem — just pack it in checked luggage. Ditto for a pool cue, set of ski poles, screwdrivers and other hand tools. Prescription medication is allowed in a carryon, your pistol or rifle only in checked luggage, and blastings caps are simply out…but you could be kept off your flight or even face legal action for even taking banned items to the checkpoint, so see the list before you go to the airport to make sure everything you’re planning to take is allowed.
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