Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Airport & Cruise Terminal Security

Before you leave for the airport to fly to your next cruise, it might be a good idea to learn a little about airport and cruise terminal security procedures to prepare yourself for what could be a prolonged ordeal. Christmas Day's "underwear bomber" incident aboard a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit will surely result in more draconian airport security measures being set in motion by our pals at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Unlike the aftermath of the "shoe bomber," it's doubtful that airline passengers will have to remove their undies before clearing security, but there will be changes to make us all feel safer in the friendly skies. TSA says they will be enhancing security measures throughout the airport environment: more random screening of employees, additional canine patrols, stronger air cargo security measures, more rigorous identity verification, deploying more trained security officers in bomb appraisal, and screening by observation techniques.

CruiseDiva.com shares more information on the 3-1-1 of carry-on rules in Flying the Friendlier Skies to Your Cruise Port and the TSA offers the following suggestions:
  • To lessen inconvenience at airport security (according to the TSA), the secret to getting through security smoothly is to de-clutter your carry-on bag. TSA claims this lets their Security Officers get a clear, uncomplicated X-ray image of your carry-on. (Good idea. It might save you the indignity of having your belongings pawed through by gloved screeners.)
  • TSA also suggests that, when possible, pack all liquids in checked baggage. You will get through security faster if you limit carry-on quantities to what is needed for the duration of the flight. (Do they really think we pack shampoo to wash our hair in the lav on the plane? It's for use at our destination, guys!)
Thankfully, once you arrive at your embarkation port city, the worst is behind you, provided that the airline managed to get your luggage to the right place. At most cruise terminals, the security procedure appears similar to those at airports, but screeners are far more interested in finding contraband liquor in your carry-on than a tube containing more than 3 ounces of toothpaste. You probably won't have to take your laptop out of its case for screening, or remove your shoes, but you will have to pass through a metal detector.

Once on board your cruise ship, relax and enjoy yourself. Unfortunately, you'll have to fly home again all too soon.


Travelish said...

Yes indeed, security messures in different airports around the world have rigored their security mesures again. It always takes an almost disaster to wake them up again doesn't it. It is a pity though that it takes so long. Luckely we are hearing of new screening machines that will shorten the time of security checks.

Anonymous said...

I work as one of the screeners for a major cruise terminal and I have to say, it would be amazing if everyone read ahead and prepared for going through security before they get up to the front of the line. We try to pre-inform as many people as possible when things aren't too hectic, but once the rush hits, there is no practical way to do this without a megaphone (and no, we aren't going to shout at you with a megaphone). If I could give everyone a huge tip for going through cruise terminal screening it would be this: Forget everything you learned about security at the airports. We may look like them, but the similarities end there (we smell better). Airport walk through metal detectors are set so sensitive they almost pick up the fillings in your teeth. They may go off if you have too much iron in your breakfast. Not the case at the cruise terminals. If you have a dollar in change and a money clip in your pocket, we will never (nor want to) know about it. Anything with more metal than that, like a cell phone, set of car keys, iPod, etc. you should put those items in your carry-on. The biggest contributer to long lines at the cruise terminal are the people who get to the front of the line and ignore everything we say while thinking we are TSA. This only causes us to stop the line while they put their shoes, belt, watch, and jewelry back on. Laptops only need to come out if it is an actual laptop, meaning it opens up and has a keyboard. For example, iPads, kindles, dvd players, video games must stay in your bag. Ladies, I know you want to look cute getting on your cruise, but maybe that metal stud covered blouse with the huge belt buckle sewn onto it isn't the best thing to be wearing when you walk through a METAL DETECTOR! Just be mindful when an officer gives you instructions, and the line will go smooth like a frogs hair split three ways and sanded.