There are people who’ll try to take a sledge-hammer, a gun or a machete onto an airplane. Jay Brainard has seen them. The Federal Security Director at Des Moines International Airport, Brainard showed reporters a table loaded with scary-looking weapons, firecrackers and other devices as he gave the annual advice for travelers who’ll be boarding planes for Thanksgiving in a few days.
Many of the confiscated items, he says, would be allowed if they were packed into checked luggage. He says they can’t come through the passenger-screening checkpoints in carry-on luggage. Too often, he says, people forget about things in their bags or don’t understand what items are not allowed. But he says the T-S-A has absolutely no sense of humor about it.
“The little pocket knives are one thing,” Brainard says. “People start bringing guns into the airport, that really poses a problem. He says law-enforcement gets involved and the Transportation Security Agency refers cases to city police for prosecutions, to a federal prosecutor, and may also file civil charges against them for trying to bring a “deadly and dangerous item” onto an airplane. The more deadly the weapons, he says, the more serious they are about it.
While shampoo, lotion and other personal items are now limited to three-ounce containers, Brainard says there are also reasonable rules for people with kids, or special requirements. Passengers with special needs should declare items like baby formula, milk or medication that exceed the three-ounce limitation when they arrive at the screening gate. Those items are permissible and there are exceptions made for them, but travelers have to declare them at the checkpoint. He says while a lot of people heading out for the Thanksgiving holiday aren’t seasoned travelers, you’ll speed your trip if you take some tips from the professionals who do it often.
They arrive early at the airport and are ready with what they need when they get to the passenger-screening checkpoint — their things are properly packed in small containers in a zip-lock bag, their laptops are out, their shoes are off, their jewelry’s off and they’re ready to talk through the metal-detector gateway. He says they get through very quickly. No new restrictions have been added since the rule about the size of liquid containers last summer, though you should check the list of carry-on, checked luggage items and forbidden articles at the government’s website, T-S-A-dot-gov.