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What to Expect at the Airport


New Restrictions

Travelers should expect significant changes to check-in policies, carry-on restrictions, and airport security rules. Here are a few changes that may impact your travel plans. 

Outside the Terminal 

  • Expect increased security: Cars at the curb will be closely monitored.
  • At most airports, for most airlines, you may not be able to check luggage curbside or at off-airport sites (such as prior night hotels or upon debarkation from cruise ships). 
Checking In
  • All airlines recommend confirming your flight's status before heading to the airport.
  • Arrive early: To avoid the possibility of missing your flight, arrive at the airport at least two (three if international) hours before your flight.
  • Check your airport security line wait time
  • If traveling on an e-ticket, bring a printout of your ticket with you (or ask the issuing agent for a paper ticket).
  • Check bags at the counter. For your security, all bags must be brought to the check-in counter when you arrive at the airport. 
  • Be sure to allow more time for increased scrutiny at the security gate.
  • Expect to be asked to power-up your laptop (you may want to put your laptop in a padded case inside your checked luggage to avoid this inconvenience).  Consider eliminating as many of your non-essential electronic devices as possible. 
Your Carry-On Bag 
  • As of 10/8/01, The Federal Aviation Administration is limiting all airline passengers to one carry-on bag and one personal article such as a purse or briefcase, an FAA official told CNN. Experts said the move would give screeners more time to examine bags and passengers closely.
  • Sharp objects: It's not just the obvious items. Place any sharp objects, such as your razor, nail file, or corkscrew in your checked luggage. Scissors from children's art kits and first aid kits should be packed in your checked luggage.  You will not be allowed to bring these items into the cabin with you. (see table below)
  • Pack light: Pack only the essentials in your carry-on bag (such as medications, a spare shirt, water bottle, and book). The fewer items you carry, the quicker you'll pass through security.


New Carry-on Guidelines as of 5/6/02

... From Beth Lewandowski CNN Washington Bureau

It's safe to pack the tweezers again

Knives, scissors, box cutters, corkscrews remain prohibited

WASHINGTON (CNN) --It's OK to pack tweezers and nail files in carry-on
luggage again, federal transportation security officials say, but air travelers
still must leave sharp items at home.

The federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) issued an updated list of
prohibited items Tuesday.

Transportation Security Administration head John Magaw made the announcement
in front of a table stacked with hundreds of knives, scissors and items such as
pepper spray confiscated from passengers at Baltimore-Washington International
Airport in just the past week.

"What we want to do is encourage them not to bring these things forward so that
we don't have to confiscate them," Magaw said.

Passengers may be happy to know that some personal items like tweezers, small nail
clippers, nail files, safety razors and eyelash curlers are now off the prohibited list --
if they ever were on it.

Officials admit there was some inconsistency from airport to airport about what
constituted a dangerous sharp object and what did not.

Most of these items can be packed in checked baggage, according to the TSA.

But knives, scissors, box cutters and corkscrews remain prohibited.

So baseball bats, bows and arrows, brass knuckles, bullwhips, cattle prods, golf clubs, hockey sticks, ski poles, straight razors and razor blades not in a cartridge.

In addition, meat cleavers, large heavy tools like wrenches and pliers, screwdrivers, dog repellent spray, ammunition and toy guns are not permitted through the security checkpoints.

The TSA warned that in addition to criminal penalties, passengers who attempt to bring these items aboard an aircraft face fines of up to $1,100 per violation.

Magaw said the agency would not be responsible for mailing the banned items back to a passenger once they have been confiscated.

"There's been talk about can we put it in an envelope and mail it to them. But in looking just at some of this, it would take a full-time person every day doing just that," Magaw said.

Accepted and Recognized Luggage Locks

The list below identifies locks that are “accepted and recognized” by TSA, which means that TSA screeners can open and re-lock these bags for security screening instead of cutting the lock.  TSA screeners have tools for all TSA accepted and recognized locks that enable them to open the lock without damaging it if a physical inspection is required.  

Some of the locks listed below are specific brands.  Other names on the lists are manufacturers that produce a wide variety of locks, only some of which are accepted and recognized by TSA.  We recommend that you check the packaging to ensure that it has language similar to "accepted and recognized" by TSA if you plan on using the lock for air travel.   Most locks on the market are not TSA-recognized. This list will be updated periodically to provide the latest list of brands that are TSA accepted and recognized.  

Brand Name:

  • American Tourister Accessories
  • Atlantic Luggage
  • Austin House Travel Essentials
  • Brinks
  • Brookstone Easy Check
  • Delsey Luggage
  • Eagle Creek Travel Safe
  • EasyGo
  • eBags
  • Franzus Travel Smart
  • Kenneth Cole Luggage
  • Lewis N Clark
  • Magellan's
  • Master Lock
  • Pacsafe by Outpac
  • Prestolock SearchAlert
  • Royal Traveller by Samsonite Accessories
  • Samsonite Accessories
  • Samsonite Luggage
  • Sharper Image
  • Target Embark
  • Tumi Luggage
  • Voltage Valet

TSA also has the ability to open luggage from some other luggage and/or lock manufacturers not listed above, although time pressures may require screeners to cut these locks rather than open them because there are many manufacturers, each using multiple master keys.  It is very important to TSA that your baggage makes it onto your plane, and we will do everything possible to balance that need with security and customer service considerations.  Screeners will always strive to open a bag, if required, without breaking the lock.

In the Terminal 

  • You may see additional law enforcement patrols and canine units. FAA Federal Air Marshals will be flying anonymously on many flights.
  • Say your good-byes earlier: Only ticketed passengers will be allowed beyond the security    checkpoint. (Exceptions may be made for unaccompanied minors and travelers with special needs; contact your airline.)
  • Airlines began new baggage screening techniques at the nation's airports Friday, Jan. 25, 2002, and some fliers fearful of long lines showed up early.  A law went into effect requiring airlines to check bags for explosives - either by machine, hand or bomb-sniffing dog, or by matching each piece of checked luggage to a passenger on board.  Airport officials have said most airlines will use the bag-matching technique, which is designed to prevent someone from checking an explosives-laden bag and never boarding the plane. Critics have said that method would not stop a suicide bomber.  The Air Transport Association, a trade group representing major airlines, advised passengers to check airline Web sites for recommended airport arrival times, estimated wait times at check-in, identification requirements and baggage policies.
  • Because you will probably be spending more time in the terminal:
    • A sweater and a neck pillow can make a long wait more comfortable.
    • Using a locker (if available) keeps your carry-ons secure while you nap or browse terminal shops.
    • You may want to tuck a water bottle and a few healthy snacks into your bag (nutrition bars are a great choice). 
    • This may be the time to consider joining an airline club that offers a comfortable lounge
    • Bring extra reading material for yourself, and extra toys or games for children (a pack of cards can help the time fly!). 

People Meeting incoming flights can go no farther than the baggage claim... they will not be allowed through the security gate to meet incoming flights. Only ticketed passengers will be allowed past the gates. 

New restrictions, while inconvenient, are there to protect travelers like you. Please don't ask airline employees to be flexible in their enforcement this situation is difficult for everyone, and our safety's at stake. 

Delta Baggage FAQs


from Continental Airlines

As always, Continental Airlines is committed to providing safe and reliable air transportation. Air travel continues to remain far safer than alternative forms of transportation. The events that took place on September 11, 2001 made all of us reassess security issues relating to air travel. 


Continental, working with federal, state and local authorities, has significantly increased security onboard its airplanes and at airports to ensure your safety: 

  • Remote check-in of luggage is prohibited. 
  • A certain number of checked bags will be searched electronically or physically. 
  • All carry-on bags and other personal items are X-rayed, and may be subject to electronic explosive trace detectors. 
  • Customers, employees and service vendors are subject to random weapon searches and ID checks. 
  • Knives, cutting instruments and other sharp instruments are not permitted past the security screening checkpoint. 
  • Non-passenger access beyond the security screening checkpoint is limited. 
  • Aircraft are searched. 
  • Security relating to cargo and mail has increased.
  • Continental and other airlines are working closely with Boeing and other experts to develop strengthened cockpit doors to prevent any unauthorized entry into the cockpit. 
  • Continental is also cooperating with federal authorities in placing federal air marshals aboard more flights to safeguard the security of passengers. 

In an effort to help you with your travel planning, we have put together answers to the most frequently asked questions. 

Question: Do I have to show up at the airport two hours early? 
Answer: Even with all the new enhanced security, arriving one hour early for domestic flights should give you plenty of time. Please continue to arrive 2 hours early for international flights. 

Question: Can I use eTickets? 
Answer: Yes. You just need your eTicket receipt or eTicket boarding pass from the eService Center at the airport. 

Question: Can I check-in at an eService Center? 
Answer: Yes. Passengers with domestic eTickets are still eligible to use eService Center check-in kiosks located in most U.S. airports and many off-airport locations. 

Question: Do I have to check the bags I could previously carry on board? 
Answer: Our carry-on policy has not changed. To view our carry-on baggage policy, visit www.continental.com. 

Thank you for your support in these difficult times. For the latest information, continue to visit continental.com. Continental Airlines is committed to the safe and reliable air transportation that the nation depends on for business and economic growth. 


© 2003-2006  Candy Brock