Recently in the news, there was a story about a young lad around the tween age that was flying with his mother. When they made it up to the TSA security the agent requested a pat down on the boy. When the request was given the mother asked for police and recorded the incident. She is suing the TSA for trauma to her son.
The news commentator made a point of advising that the pat down was maybe two minutes in total while showing the same clip over and over.
I had a similar incident happen to our teenage daughter when we took them for their first flight. I do have to say that the pat downs were very similar and in my opinion did not traumatize our daughter. What did the two have in common?
Both teen's had on very baggy clothes in our daughter's case it was an oversized sweatshirt in the boy's large t-shirt and shorts. The TSA agent explained that it is hard to tell if you might have something under the large clothing.
Keep in mind that the TSA is not there to give the travelers a hard time but to keep all of us safe while we are traveling.
1. Clothing: Remember to not wear extremely loose fitting clothing. When you reach the TSA checkpoint to take off all items that are not essential. IE: sweater, sweatshirt, jacket, scarfs, jewelry, shoes, take off your belt and to empty your pockets. If you are asked to have a pat down the officer performing the request will be of the same gender. In our daughter's case, we consented and it was completed in no time at all. Should you request additional officers or private screening it could take longer.
Should you receive TSA precheck you do not have to do any of the above. However this is not guaranteed so please follow what they ask you to do.
2. Liquids: After 911 the TSA requires all liquids to be less the 3.4 OZ. In the old days that would be the trial size containers, they are now considered travel size. Place all of them in a quart size plastic bag I use a freezer bag, keep in mind that all liquids should fit in one bag per person. If you have certain products you like you can also purchase refillable bottles and bag. Remember to place them on the top of your bag for easy access when going through the line. Once at the bins remove them from your bag and place in the bin with your other items.
3. Medical: If you have a medical condition contact your airline and check the TSA website under disability before departing for the airport.
For us, we travel with insulin that is in a liquid form and a pump. We put the insulin vials in a separate freezer bag and similar to the personal items we pull it out and place it in the bin. The manufacturer recommended that we detach the pump and hand it to the agent to have it walked through. I must say that at times they do give us some very strange looks. But we just insist that we need it done this way and have not had any issues. They do check the insulin in the pump to make sure it is not an explosive.
Be sure to carry the medications in the original container and place them in a clear bag for easy access.
In regards to the young man, he has SPD (sensory processing disorder). In which case the parent or the TSA officer could have called in the TSA Cares Disabilities Officer to assist.
Every situation is different be sure to verify your circumstance before departing for the airport. Once in line advise the TSA agent right away, by being up front they will get you through as fast as they can.
4. Electronic: Pull your laptop out of your case and send it through in a separate tub. Note: That some destination and airlines are banning laptops and tablets. Check with your airline or travel agent before leaving home.
Keep in mind that the TSA is not there to give travelers a hard time but to keep all of us safe while we are flying.
To find out more look at www.tsa.gov or your issuing airline's website.
Lauren and Kim Medelberg's life in travel. We will talk about our trips, thoughts, and experiences in the travel world.