If you are a frequent flyer you likely have TSA Pre Check. If you are a really smart frequent flyer you have that and you have CLEAR as well. These can really reduce your time getting past security and on to the gate or the lounge of your choice. But there are things that can slow this process down – way down.
I am NOT talking about things that are not allowed per the TSA to bring through a check point. No, I am talking about things are AOK and approved but despite that fact they will, most times, earn you some extra time with the screening folks.
The most frustrating part for me is when I am in TSA Pre Check and I attempt to remove anything from my bag, that I know will trigger extra screening, and get yelled at to “leave everything in the bag sir”. When I am able to take them out there is often no bucket to put stuff in on the Pre Check side and that is another annoyance.
So let’s look at a few that will, under most circumstance, mean extra time for you:
Massage machines. Notice the photo at the top of this post. I own a number of these Niagara Sonoid (no longer in mfg btw) massage units and sometimes when I have a sore back I travel with one. But every time, when in my carry-on, it will need extra screening.
Lead glass. One time I took back a lead glass fish from Sweden and it seems any glass with lead will look just nasty on their x-ray units.
Dive regulators. Call this one hit and miss as to if you will get pulled. From dive spots less so but from non-dive area airports this is common to end up pulled for extra visual testing.
Dive weights. My wife has “floaty feet” and thus has soft shot clip on weights. Until we got the tip to clip them into a circle we always got pulled with these when laid out straight.
Wine bottle opener. Yes these are legal as they do not have a blade to cut the foil at the top of the bottle. But if I do not pull it out I am guaranteed to have the bag pulled and searched.
Some curling irons. Lady flyers will attest to this that there are certain types of curling or straitening irons that will always end up in more time with TSA. If all carry-on what can you do?
Any spice mix with salt. Every time I visit Austin I pick up some Salt Lick spice mix for grilling. But if I do not buy it on the secure side it will mean a LONG time with TSA folks testing the outside of the bottles with drops of some stuff. It takes forever!
Frozen beef (or pork). I have a number of times brought back large chunks of frozen brisket or ribs etc. and not once have the TSA folks just said something like Ah BBQ and let me go. It always means more quality time but I guess it is worth it so…
Tools! I spoke to a friend who is a processional carpenter and he often takes carry-on wrenches, screw guns and all kinds of large battery packs for the tools. Even when all the tools are of legal size to bring on-board he has the bag pulled.
Certain car keys/fabs. With electronic start most keys have some kind of back key inside the fob but these can look like a blade on x-ray. I know some folks who have been stopped so many times they always put them in an extra bin to avoid longer delays.
So there you are. This is clearly not a complete list of all the things that will just about every time trigger extra time at TSA check points when all we are trying to do is speed through the process but that is where you come in dear reader. Tell me what things you travel with that ALWAYS end up costing you extra time through security! – René
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