Post Eagle Newspaper


Feb 21, 2024

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New Jersey

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Uh Oh, Should Have Left
That Item Out Of The Luggage

By Bob & Sandy Nesoff

In spite of the fact that we all (or do we) know that firearms and explosives are verboten in your luggage or on your person when you fly, there are still those who “forgot” they had a loaded pistol on their belt.

That’s only one step worse that telling the boarding agent you have a bomb in your suitcase. It’s a regular happenstance that some soul is arrested for trying to board with an illegal weapon.

There are items well beyond guns and explosives that can trigger a long and serious talk with TSA. Often that happens when traveling with younger children. Parents are more likely to inspect the kid’s pull-along than a grandparent. But it should be done.

Kids, especially young ones of the female variety, tend to pack a lot of cosmetics, hair gels, shampoo and other liquid-like items. That could be a problem going through security. But make no mistake; adults of all persuasions are often guilty of the same error.

All liquid carry-on items should be packed in a clear plastic case for easy inspection. All such items must be in 3.4 ounce containers maximum. Basically you should adhere to what TSA refers to as the 3-1-1 rule.

The three refers to the maximum size each liquid container can be. Actually it is 3.4 as noted above. But be aware that it refers to the size of the container and not the amount of liquid being transported.

The “1” is the requirement that all liquids must be contained within a quart sized, clear plastic zip top resealable bag. The last “1” is that only one such bag is permitted.

Some times these rules can cause anguish. Returning from a cruise we appeared at the airport carrying a beautiful, sealed bottle of white wine. Never made it through security. Even though it was sealed the smiling TSA agent confiscated it because it was over the size limit. And while most TSA agents are scrupulously honest, there are those we know of (an acquaintance once worked for TSA) who enjoyed your bottle of wine with dinner that night.

Be aware that most spreadable items such as cream cheese, peanut butter and the kids favorite spread-Nutella-all come under the 3-1-1 liquid prohibition. In most cases if these items are packing in your checked luggage you should be OK, unless the TSA agent had a fight with his wife that morning. Also, canned and bottled items are also under the rule.

Liquids are not the only items that can cause problems. TSA has announced its policy of permitting powder has changed and more than 12 ounces could be a no-no. Dry shampoo, baby powder and make-up powders all come under the new rule.

If Grammy and Pop-Pop are traveling with young boys make sure that the plastic cowboy gun is left at home. It’s not uncommon for the kids to be packin’ plastic heat.

Let’s go back to firearms for a second. In most instances if you feel the need to carry a gun on your trip they can be transported if placed in an appropriate manner. Make sure they are unloaded and kept separate from the ammunition. They should be in a hard-sided and locked container and placed in checked luggage. Some airlines require that you inform them you are transporting a firearm. Check with the airline before you get to the airport to determine its requirement. This is especially true for such states as Florida and Virginia where there are “Right to Carry” laws and many people have concealed carry permits. In such cases you should also check the law in your destination or pass-though states. Not all states have reciprocity arrangements.

We’ll go into more ways to avoid TSA next column. Fly safe, follow the rules and avoid problems by following the requirements and using common sense. Remember, you will never win an argument with TSA.