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  1. #1
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    Default Airport Security Q&A

    Many travelers find it a challenge to keep up with the ever-changing security rules at the airport. Get started by reading Know Before You Go: Airport Security Q&A. Question not answered? Got an airport security anecdote to share? Post it here!
    Sarah Schlichter
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    Independent Traveler
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    Default Re: Airport Security Q&A

    I think that I can answer the question posed about at least one type of food--cheesecake. As my friend found out at LaGuardia Airport, the TSA screeners were initially inclined to consider cheesecake a gel but opted in favor of allowing it on a plane. Thank goodness for me, since the Carnegie Deli cheesecake was intended for me.
    Last edited by Up4Travel; 12-19-2006 at 09:51 PM.

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    Default Re: Airport Security Q&A

    Thanks for sharing your experience, chicago_heel. We heard from another reader that their cheesecake got through security as well. It seems to depend on which screener you get though, so travelers in doubt might want to check the cheesecake instead of risking it. Glad to hear everything worked out well for you!
    Sarah Schlichter
    Senior Editor
    Independent Traveler
    www.independenttraveler.com


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    Default Re: Airport Security Q&A

    Here are my suggestions for makign airport security as painless as possible.
    (1) THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE IS: WEAR SOCKS!!! Otherwise, you will be walking barefoot on a filthy floor, laden with germs from thousands of strangers.
    (2) Sit down before you get in line and put all your metal stuff in your purse, briefcase or carryon. (I never check baggage) Wallet, keys, coins, cellphone, etc etc. That avoids awkward fussing at the machine. After you go through, sit down and put everything back in your pockets.

    I always carry my own food and never have never had a problem. Airport and airplane food is overpriced. I favor cut-up cheese, hardboiled eggs, cooked sausages, and non-messy fruit. I do recommend shelling out $2 or so for a bottle of water or soda within the security area. You can now carry it on board. Airplane air is dry, and you may not want to wait for the flight attendant to bring you something.

    Carry-on duty free liquor is now permitted, here and in Europe. My wife made it under the wire with her bottle at Munich, the day after they made it legal.

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    Default Re: Airport Security Q&A

    Security can indeed vary from country to country. So far, my only international trip in '07 has been to Guatemala, but when I left there, my belt, which NEVER sets off the detectors here, had to come off even before I walked through. And an inspector hand searched by bag and took away my EMPTY souvenir Gallo beer can!

    By the way, here's one way to bring water aboard, comply with security, and also bypass the lines (sometimes quite long) of people waiting to buy bottled water. Bring an empty bottle, bring it through security, and then fill it at the drinking fountain. Almost all US airports have them.

    This probably won't work in Europe, where, even in countries where the water is cleaner than ours, anyone who drinks tap water is considered a barbarian.

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    Exclamation Re: Airport Security Q&A

    Since when is Frankfurt in Northern Germany? Check the map! There are 2 Frankfurts, one in Easter Germany, and one in Western Germany. You are referring to the latter one, which is in the Southern half of the country.
    If you weren't American, then the story would be other way around, foreigners almost always get hassled in the US, just as much as you did in Germany. I wasn't allowed to bring water that I bought after security on to the plane in Seattle either. It just seems that American safety personnel are not as well trained or don't give ****, so they just rattle down the proceedings and security ?s, instead of really trying to find out, if that's a terrorist in front of them!

    To the poster about the water: it's not true that people think you are a barbarian, if you drink tap water...most Europeans just prefer sparkling water...and in Southern European countries the tap water is still NOT safe to drink.

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    Default Re: Airport Security Q&A

    I don't recall saying anything about Frankfurt. Practices and hassles vary from employee to employee, airport to airport, and country to country. What I do know, as far as security at German airports goes, is that my wife boarded a flight to Atlanta at Munich airport last November, one day after the rules were changed to allow duty-free liquor to be brought on board from within the security zone. The screeners didn't know about the change, and she had to backtrack a considerable distance and actually bring the employee who had sold her the liquor to security to advise them of the change, at which time they relented and let her bring it through.

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    Default Re: Airport Security Q&A

    The first part of my message about the location of Frankfurt and so forth was NOT a response to the previous poster, but rather to the article itself!

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    Default Re: Airport Security Q&A

    Quote Originally Posted by bellstown View Post
    Since when is Frankfurt in Northern Germany? Check the map! There are 2 Frankfurts, one in Easter Germany, and one in Western Germany. You are referring to the latter one, which is in the Southern half of the country.
    Thanks for pointing out this error -- I've fixed it in the story. We appreciate our readers' help in keeping us accurate!
    Sarah Schlichter
    Senior Editor
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    Default Re: Airport Security Q&A

    I had shoulder replacement surgeries 3 years ago and every time I go through security at LAX and MIA, I do set off the alarm. Recently, I went through security at Dulles, of all places, and DID NOT SET OFF THE ALARM - this was very disturbing because I would have thought that Dulles of all places should have the most sensitive alarms.

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    Default Re: Airport Security Q&A

    Hello
    Airport Horror Story! This really scared me! I just returned from Puerto Vallarta. I use a wheelchair. The security in PV was so lax... The guy felt around in my suitcase while looking at the scantily clad women walking by. Normally I get wanded and patted down everywhere because artificial knees and hips go beep, not in PV! they just 'checked' my bags but did not wand me. When I got home, I notified TSA by email but alas, no response.

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    Default Re: Airport Security Q&A

    We are flying to California at Christmas to visit my wife's family. My wife Dana had polio when she was a baby and as a result she wears a metal brace on her right leg. The brace is attached to her shoe and goes up almost to her hip. She has not flown in a few years and is worried about going through security, mostly the part where they now make you take off your shoes. In order to do that she would have to take off her brace, which means getting partially undressed. Is this something they will make her do? If so will they provide a place she can do this with some level of privacy? How much extra time will it take? Dana is rather self conscious about her disability so she is very apprehensive about the whole thing. Also, we are traveling with our two children, ages 1 and 3, and this will be their first time flying so we're trying to make it go as smooth as possible. Thanks for your help. Kevin.

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    Default Re: Airport Security Q&A

    To Kevin and Dana - please, don't be too concerned. Under TSA's rules and procedures, Dana has only to ask, and she will be entitled to go through security in a private room, with a female TSA agent.

    It might save time if this is mentioned to the first TSA agent you encounter, rather than waiting until you're all the way up to the metal detector.

    I saw the author of a new book on air travel and airport security interviewed on C-span a year or so ago. He has zero confidence in the current system. He said the Israelis are far more effective with their system of using not only physical security but also psychological and body language screening with trained professionals. Of course, they also use profiling. One of the screeners at Boston/Logan on 9/11 said that he remembered Mohammed Atta, because his eyes looked "dead" and scary. But there was nothing he could do, because he wasn't carrying anything that wasn't legal to carry. The Israelis would have ID'd and photographed him for a no-loopholes no-fly list and then thrown him out of the airport - or shipped him home under armed guard. They'd have done the same thing with those Somali Islamists who terrified a planeload of passengers at Minneapolis/St.Paul airport with their jihad playacting under the guise of worshipping.

    Who searches everything that's brought into the security area and sold there? Are all employees searched and screened? Delivery people? What about cargo? Years ago, long before 9/11, I saw a movie-for-TV where Arab terrorists were getting explosives through security by installing them in partly hollowed-out books which were shipped into an airport bookstore.

    Why should someone who's gone through "screening" at a third-world airport have unrestricted access to a flight anywhere else at a connecting point? When I flew from Bali (ironically, now on an unsafe-airport list) to Sydney 24 years ago, the plane stopped at Melbourne. Everyone had to deplane, go through security again - in Melbourne - and then reboard. And that was 18 years before 9/11.

    I never complain about airport security. They do what they can, and I have never encountered nicer, more polite people than the TSA folks. But I'll never feel completely secure until all of the above is covered, every ****pit door automatically becomes sealed and impenetrable - nomatter what - when the plane takes off and until it lands - and every flight carries an armed air marshal. Oh yes - I read that the feds have been requiring air marshals to be "properly" attired. Are they nuts? There should be no way of anyone being able to tell who the armed air marshal is - a businessman, a hippie, a college kid with a backpack, a pregnant woman, a sweet grandma, a handicapped person who's not actually handicapped - you get the idea.

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    Default Re: Airport Security Q&A

    Quote Originally Posted by kevinl84 View Post
    We are flying to California at Christmas to visit my wife's family. My wife Dana had polio when she was a baby and as a result she wears a metal brace on her right leg. The brace is attached to her shoe and goes up almost to her hip. She has not flown in a few years and is worried about going through security, mostly the part where they now make you take off your shoes. In order to do that she would have to take off her brace, which means getting partially undressed. Is this something they will make her do? If so will they provide a place she can do this with some level of privacy? How much extra time will it take? Dana is rather self conscious about her disability so she is very apprehensive about the whole thing. Also, we are traveling with our two children, ages 1 and 3, and this will be their first time flying so we're trying to make it go as smooth as possible. Thanks for your help. Kevin.
    RichardNika is right. The TSA will give private screenings if necessary as long as your wife lets them know of her disability. Here's more information from the TSA's Web site: http://www.tsa.dhs.gov/travelers/air...eds/index.shtm.

    I hope that helps.
    Sarah Schlichter
    Senior Editor
    Independent Traveler
    www.independenttraveler.com


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    Default Re: Airport Security Q&A

    Thank you for that advice Richard. We will definitely get to the airport early and let TSA know as soon as possible about Dana's situation. Dana has also decided she will wear a long skirt. We're hoping if she can pull up her skirt enough to show them her brace then maybe they will let her through without having to take it off. Once they see how much smaller her right leg is it should be obvious to them that she could not possibly be pretending to be disabled. Still we realize they may insist she remove her brace and shoes because of the lift on her right shoe (the one attached to the brace). At least she will be able to do it more easily than she could wearing slacks.

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    Default Re: Airport Security Q&A

    They may insist on "full disclosure" in private with a female agent. It may be in the rule book.

    But, if it's any comfort, I will say that the TSA employees are by far the most courteous people I have ever dealt with in my many years of air travel.

    Bon voyage! Your love and caring for your wife shines through your posts! How fortunate your children are to have two such wonderful parents!

    -Richard

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    Default Re: Airport Security Q&A

    Thank you for saying such nice things Richard.

    Dana and I have been together since we were 16 yrs old in high school (we are 23 now). The polio is just a small part of what she has been through in her life, so I try to do what I can to help make her life a little bit easier. She is very self-conscious about her disability, so the prospect of having to remove her brace at the airport is pretty upsetting (I still remember how hard it was for Dana to even let me see her right leg for the first time). I know it would help if I could be in the room with her, but my job will be to take care of the children.

    Dana really wants to see her grandparents this Christmas. They are the ones who basically raised her until she was 16, now they are both in their 80s.

    I am so proud of Dana and all the things she has been able to accomplish in spite of the difficulties she has faced. She is a wonderful wife and an awesome mom to our children.

    Kevin

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    Default Re: Airport Security Q&A

    I thought I would write and let everyone know how it went on our trip to CA.

    At ATL it went about as smoothly as we could have hoped for. As we waited in the security line a TSA person was making the rounds reminding people of the procedures. We told her about Dana's brace and she told us to just tell the person at the metal detector. We did that and they took Dana aside. A female TSA agent used the hand-held "wand" and it was all done in 2 minutes.

    Unfortunately on the way home it was not quite as easy. After a long wait on the security line, the agent told Dana she would have to go to a private room to remove her brace and shoes for inspection. They then took Dana's brace and shoes and left her sitting there for at least 15 minutes. Fortunately she had her cell phone; she called me, almost in tears, and I stayed on the phone with her until everything was returned. We were early enough that there was no danger of missing our flight, but still it was pretty upsetting that it took so long. What if there had been some sort of emergency at the airport and Dana was left sitting there essentially unable to walk.

    I definitely agree we all need to be safe and inspections are part of the process. I suppose I can even understand why they might want to closely inspect Dana's shoes (her right shoe, the one attached to the brace, has the sole built up about 2 inches to compensate for Dana's short leg). But I can't for the life of me understand why it should take anywhere near the time that it did.

    I'm just thankful it happened on the way home and not on the way out there.

    Kevin

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    Default Re: Airport Security Q&A

    Kevin,

    Thanks for coming back and letting us know how everything went. I'm glad that you left enough time on the way home to allow for that security inspection!
    Sarah Schlichter
    Senior Editor
    Independent Traveler
    www.independenttraveler.com


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    Default Re: Airport Security Q&A

    My sister wasn't in the country and she left her infant with me. She called one night asking me to bring her baby to her because she missed him so much and couldn't get back too soon. I made some reservations and went to the airport after two days. They wouldn't let me get the babies chair inside the plane. I asked them how am I suppose to carry an infant in the plane. They told me to hold him in my arms. But there's no special seatbelt in my arms for an infant. Shouldn't they all have some special seats for small kids?

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    Default Re: Airport Security Q&A

    All three of my daughters are also moms and have flown with their babies. They have flown with baby seats. However, you need to check with the airline first. Some seats are acceptable and some are not. It also depends on the aircraft being used. However, an infant under age 2 who is flying for free is not expected to occupy a seat, although if the flight has empty seats, then it might be allowed. Again, check first.

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    Default Re: Airport Security Q&A

    I havent had too many issues with security in the US. I've flown many times from Detroit, and never had much of an issue. Only time there was any issue was that the person doing the scanning didnt recognize my mp3 player with ear phone buds on the scanner, and my bag was taken to a table for secondary screening. All was fine after that.

    In O'hare airport, some of the agents there were blurting out things loudly reminding people to remove coats/jackets and shoes etc prior to passing through the check point. At least I was prepared for it, and I should have worn socks with my shoes as that floor was kind of cold.

    The British airport security is very thorough when you are going on an international flight from a UK airport. When checking in, you are asked questions about who packed your bag, etc. Then you go through the security check point as normal removing coats/jackets and shoes and placing carry on's/handbags etc on the belt for scanning along with normal metal detecting. Before getting on the flight, carryon's and purses/handbags searched then a pat down by a security officer of your own gender then you are allowed to board the flight. The Irish are similar to the British in terms of procedures but the final security questions/search happens when you are walking through the walk way thing to board the plane. I can't remember what happened in Denmark but the security process was similar to Ireland and the UK.


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    Default Re: Airport Security Q&A

    I am planning to fly from ORD to Delhi, with a layover in Frankfort, carrying over 100 doses of prescription medication for my daughter who lives in India. Each dose is individually sealed by the manufacturer in a hard plastic container (blister pack) and includes a syringe (needle) and medicine. They must be carried as hand baggage (because of temperature) and cannot be X-rayed because it damages the medicine. We have carried the medicine many times on different airlines. US airport (TSA) security permits any quantity to be carried on board and has swabbed each pack when requested. Other countries have different regulations. I have checked both the Lufthansa and Frankfort Airport websites and cannot find any information specifically addressing the question of carrying on this quantity medication and avoiding X-rays.

    Anyone know if this is permitted or from whom I may obtain authoritative (presumably EU airport security) information?

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Airport Security Q&A

    This is the URL google provides for tracking EU airport security rules.

    http://www.eubusiness.com/Transport/061105012830.7fjk2vxo

    I suggest you go there, prowl around and also look for contact points. If you feel you need to translate your question into another language, I recommend www.freetranslation.com.

    You might also want to call www.tsa.gov. Those are our people, and they may have some ideas.

    Finally, I would suggest you get notarized letters from the person for whom the medications are prescribed, vouching that she is the person for whom they are prescribed and whose name is on the containers. I'm thinking of that episode where Rush Limbaugh got in trouble for carrying a prescription bottle with his therapist's name on it.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Airport Security Q&A

    Different U.S aiports are very different...I flew out of NJ and I didn't find them to be as strict as lets say west coast aiports which I feel are way more strict and less tolerant of liquid based products.

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