Sunday, August 5, 2007

Flying to Your Cruise

Last month TSA agents in both the Atlanta and Chicago airports asked if my carry-on bag contained a video camera. Unlike many cruisers, I don't have one and I was a bit puzzled.

According to new regulations from the Transportation Security Administration: "Effective August 4, 2007, full-size video game consoles (for example Playstation, X-box, or Nintendo) and DVD players must be removed from their carrying cases and submitted separately for x-ray screening. Laptop computers and video cameras that use cassettes have long been subject to this policy. Small electronic items, such as cell phones, MP3 players, iPods and portable video game systems do not have to be removed from their carrying cases."

Hmmm... I knew about laptops, but not video cameras.

And now, cleared for takeoff, also as of August 4th, "TSA will no longer ban common lighters in carry-on luggage. Torch lighters remain banned in carry-ons. First and foremost, lighters no longer pose a significant threat. Freeing security officers up from fishing for 22,000 lighters every day (the current number surrendered daily across the country) enables them to focus more on finding explosives, using behavior recognition, conducting random screening procedures and other measures that increase complexity in the system, deterring terrorists. The U.S. is the only country in the world to ban lighters – all other nations, including Israel and the U.K., do not."

Gee, someone in Stockholm, Sweden needs to be told... there were big signs in the airport there just a few weeks ago listing banned items and lighters were prominently displayed as not allowed.

And in another move, "TSA is also modifying the rules associated with carrying breast milk through security checkpoints. Mothers flying with, and now without, their child will be permitted to bring breast milk in quantities greater than three ounces as long as it is declared for inspection at the security checkpoint."

I don't really understand why a mother without her child would need to carry around breast milk, but I can verify that TSA agents will allow you to carry on over-the-counter and prescription medications such as cough syrup in bottles larger than the 3-ounce limit on other liquids. Just tell the screener that you've got it and hand the bottle over for inspection.

By the way, Bose noise-cancelling headphones and an iPod are on my list of MUST HAVE items for in-flight comfort. If they are ever disallowed, I'll just stay home.

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