Travel Tips from Merle Minda
- First and most important: Get to the airport early!
- No longer can you simply sail up to the airport 45 minutes before your flight departure time;
- Parking is often very full; same with Park n’ Ride lots so it may take a while to find a spot;
- Security takes time – you never know how long those lines (and waits) are going to be – this is especially true if you are traveling on a weekend or holiday or even a busy weekday.
- Don’t take chances; arrive early (2 hours or so before your flight) – get through security and then you can relax, shop, eat or just hang out with the comforting knowledge that you are completely checked in.
- Also be sure to get to your gate NO LESS THAN 30 MINUTES BEFORE THE DEPARTURE TIME. You can get bumped if you are not there – and also, if you are there, you might snag an upgrade!
- Be Prepared: Get ready for airport security beforeleaving home:
- Put carry-on-on liquids, no more than 3 ounces each, in one see-through, 1-quart plastic bag;
- Put all metal items, keys, cell phone, watch, clunky jewelry, etc. in a plastic bag or in a purse that can go through the scanner bin; unpack your computer for the scanner.
- Keep Christmas presents and gifts unwrapped.
- At the airport:
- Take off shoes, jackets or cardigans, coats, (wear slip-off shoes – it’s easier);
- Men, take off your belt;
- Take out your computer; put it and other electronics in a bin for the scanner belt.
- Wear clothes without metal in them, like jeans – TIP: Jeans have lots of metal (zippers, grommets, studs, etc.) and often will get you pulled over for an extra scan or pat-down.
- Pat-downs and airport scanners:
- Follow all directions from TSA personnel;
- Don’t wise-crack, complain or make jokes;
- Let TSA personnel know if you have a metal implant in your body;
- The pat-down is over in a few seconds and, although indeed they are more intrusive than they used to be, keep in mind that the TSA people are just doing their jobs;
- The body scanners use a tiny amount of electromagnetic waves; the radiation emitted is minimal, equal to natural exposure during 2 minutes of flying.
- Scan images: Yes, TSA personnel see a body image, but they are not interested in you or your body; they are just looking for any problem materials.
- You may refuse the scanner but then you will definitely have a more extensive pat-down search.
Best advice: Follow TSA orders, don’t complain and just get through it quickly.
If you don’t cooperate fully, you may not be allowed to fly!