WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — AAA expects the number of holiday travelers to top 100 million for the first time this year, and those who are taking to the skies should expect to see increased security measures.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is stepping up security at airports across the country, including at T.F. Green in Warwick.
With Christmas and New Year’s Eve right around the corner, the agency’s message is clear: Be prepared. The agency urges travelers to give themselves a little extra time to go through the security lines and to make sure not to pack any questionable items. Anyone with an item that’s banned or will need to be taken apart will hold up the already lengthy process.
The TSA said nearly 700 items were seized from flyers at T.F. Green in November alone, including BB guns, replica weapons and decorative items that posed a threat.
“We screen nearly two million passengers a day nationwide,” said TSA spokesman Michael McCarthy. “There’s nothing we haven’t seen at this point.”
Many people carry knives out of habit, and simple forgetfulness can cause headaches at TSA checkpoints, according to McCarthy.
“We recognize that the majority of passengers have no ill intent, they just forgot. It’s a routine,” he added. “Perhaps you have a utility knife and you put that in your bag every morning, just try to remember you can’t fly with that. You’re going to want to put that in your checked luggage or leave it at home.”
Another popular error is full water bottles over the 3.4-ounce liquid limit. Your best bet is to bring an empty one instead and fill it up once you’re past the checkpoint.
“If we detect a prohibited item, it’s going to slow you down,” said McCarthy. “It’s going to slow down everyone else behind you, because we’re going to have to pull your bag aside and do a bag search.
This time of year, wrapped presents can also cause issues at security checkpoints. They’re technically allowed, but strongly discouraged by the TSA. If something wrapped sets off a machine, agents will have to tear into it, so gift bags would be a better option to travel with.
Food items such as pies are also allowed, but the TSA says all wine and liquor must go under the plane.