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6 Tips for Getting Through TSA Checkpoints Quickly This Holiday Season


"Behave like an adult..."

A turkey greeting passengers at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in Grapevine, Texas, on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving in 2008. (Photo: AP/Donna McWilliam, File)

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is often called the busiest travel day of the year. As if going through security at the airport weren't time consuming enough, add in thousands of people who don't travel on a regular basis (probably don't know about the liquid restrictions or that you have to place your laptop in a different bin) and it's bound to create further backups.

To help keep things moving, here are some tips from the TSA to help us all get through the airport checkpoints as quickly as possible, whether we're a regular traveler or haven't flown since last year:

  • Can I bring my ...: When in doubt, consider downloading TSA's app and then consulting its "Can I bring my..." tool before trying to carry on a half a dozen of your recently canned apple butter jars.
  • Wrapped presents: Some families will be celebrating a gift-giving holiday earlier over Thanksgiving if they won't be able to make it back in December -- or perhaps just transporting gifts to save on shipping later. Either way, TSA says that wrapped gifts are allowed, but they're not recommended. If an agent or the scanner flags a gift to be examined, the bow you spent 20 minutes folding might need to be snipped.
  • Liquids rule of thumb: You can bring as many 3.4-ounce containers as you can fit into one one-quart plastic, sealable bag.

Travelers wait in line at security at Denver International Airport during the busy Thanksgiving holiday travel season in Denver in 2009. (Photo: AP/Chris Schneider)

Gizmodo's Andrew Tarantola has some travel tips as well. Here are a few from his recent post:

  • What to wear: Instead of wearing your brand new knee-high riding boots that you have to wiggle off and then stuff your jeans back into, consider an easy slip on that you can wear socks with. Loose clothing that make it easy to remove your wallet, keys and other pocketed items quickly is a plus as well.
  • When to undress: It's best not to leave your de-belting and shoe, coat, watch and jewelry removal process to the last minute. Tarantola recommends beginning to undress yourself -- to the extent appropriate for TSA -- when there are five to eight people ahead of you.
  • Best advice to date: Before everyone starts going all Walmart at 3:30 a.m. on Black Friday (circa last year since this year they're opening at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving Day), here's some of advice from Tarantola: "So, in general, keep your mouth shut and don't be a pest. And try not to harass the other slowpoke passengers who obviously didn't read this article. Behave like an adult and we might all just get through this checkpoint by December."

Oh and good news, the comfy gel inserts in your shoes are now allowed (bet you didn't even know they were restricted before).

Get more travel tips from TSA and brush up on some of its security news in its 2012 holiday travel blog post here.

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