Holiday Travel Tips from the TSA

it's the busiest travel week of the year! In honor of that, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has provided a nice overview of holiday (or anytime) travel tips to make your travel easier. 

The blog tips include holiday gems such as "Gravy is sadly prohibited from carry-on bags unless you pack it in accordance with our liquid policies mentioned above." Check out their fun and helpful post today!

Pre-Check Pop Up

The Transportation Security Administration has begun setting up “pop-up” enrollment centers to encourage travelers to apply for its Pre-Check program.

The TSA’s Pre-Check program was designed to pre-approve fliers through a screening and background check to bypass regular security lines and enter through a designated checkpoint. Fliers with Pre-Check status do not have to remove their shoes or belts, and in many cases do not have to take their laptops out of their carrying cases.

As more people  use Pre-Check, the thinking goes, it will help to free up employees and alleviate lengthy delays at regular security checkpoints. But the $85 fee and the mandatory off-site personal interviews have dissuaded some people from applying.

Now the TSA is bringing the process to more convenient locations at airports around the nation with temporary application centers in addition to the several permanent application centers already in place in cities.

The “pop-up” enrollment centers will be in New York, Dallas, Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, Orlando, Los Angeles, Denver, Seattle, Las Vegas, Boston, Minneapolis and Houston.

The New York locations opened Monday, July 11, for three weeks in Manhattan’s Penn Station in the United Airlines ticket office from July 11 to 29; inside the Hilton Hotel-JFK Airport at 144-02 135th Ave., Jamaica, Queens, from July 12 to 16; and at the Newark Liberty International Airport Marriott Hotel, adjacent to the airport, located at 1 Hotel Road, Newark, also from July 12-16.

Travelers can go online and make an appointment at one of the temporary sites, and then complete their application in-person at the TSA Pre-Check application center.

About 160 airports are participating in Pre-Check nationwide, and so far 16 airlines participate in the program including Aeromexico, Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Airlines, American Airlines, Cape Air,  Delta Air Lines, Etihad Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Seaborne Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Sun Country, United Airlines, Virgin America and WestJet.

Fort Lauderdale Cruise Port Update

US Customs Pilot program at FLL cruise port

Port Everglades and its cruise line partners, Carnival Cruise Line (Carnival, Princess & Holland America cruise lines included) and Royal Caribbean International, have announced that they are working with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to launch two pilot programs this summer -- Automated Passport Control (APC) kiosks and Mobile Passport Control (MPC) - that are designed to expedite secure entry into the United States following a cruise vacation.

Port Everglades is the first U.S. cruise port to test the programs, although they are currently available in many U.S. airports and for cruise passenger preclearance in Vancouver.

Both programs are designed to streamline the traveler inspection process and enable CBP officers to focus more on the inspection and less on administrative functions, Port Everglades said. 

APC kiosks allow passengers to provide their travel documents and customs declaration forms prior to speaking to a CBP officer.

The MPC program is a smartphone app authorized to expedite a traveler's entry process into the United States. The app was developed by Airside Mobile and Airports Council International-North America in partnerships with CBP. It allows U.S. citizens disembarking a cruise ship to complete their Customs declaration using their phones, expediting their clearance process in the terminal. (Side note, this is also highly recommended at US airports for my clients who fly globally without global entry)

In addition, CBP's Global Entry program, which gives preferential processing to those guests who are Global Entry card holders, has been available at Port Everglades since summer 2015.

Long TSA Lines

Department of Homeland Security - Messaging on Long TSA Airport Security Checkpoints

Have you noticed longer lines at TSA airport security checkpoints this spring? If so, you’re not alone. Numerous consumer news stories like this confirm what many of you have experienced.

While the TSA has indicated it’s working to shorten lines, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have provided us with a timely reminder that its Trusted Traveler Programs – including Global Entry and TSA Precheck – can help to dramatically mitigate frustration, as well as reduce the time you have to spend in line. 

Attached is a two-page document from the DHS that outlines quick facts on both the Global Entry and TSA Precheck programs and answers common questions. While there are fees associated with both programs, enrollment in each lasts five years.



Traveling with Insect Repellent

Learn about the TSA rules for traveling with Insect Repellent from

Many clients have questions about traveling with insect repellent. For that reason, it's important to be aware of the TSA rules for travel.

Checked Baggage

Insect repellent is allowed in checked baggage only if
* it is less than 4 ounces
* contains less than a 2% active ingredient
* is in a container that prevents the repellent from being expelled during transit

Carry-On Baggage

In carry-on luggage, the 3-1-1 rule applies. The item must be in a container that is 3.4 ounces or smaller and fits in a single, quart-size, clear plastic resealable bag.

Stay in Compliance

I have found small containers to be readily available online at retailers such as Amazon and at stores such as REI.

Make sure you are in compliance with these rules or your insect repellent may be confiscated.