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Destination I Do
Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A New Year Brings New Air Travel Security Rules

Words by Jennifer Stein
Words by Brett Snyder

Happy New Year, everyone. I hope that you all had a nice and relaxing holiday season, but chances are if you were traveling internationally, that wasn’t the case. As you’ve probably heard, some jackass decided to try to blow up an airplane on Christmas Day, and now security rules are changing in response. The last thing you want is to miss your flight to your own destination wedding, so here’s a rundown of what you need to know.

Let’s start with the good news. Security for domestic US flights is unchanged – this is just an international issue. In fact, it’s really mostly an issue of flights coming to the US, so your flight out of the country won’t be much different either. But flying into the US has become much more of a hassle.

The TSA is playing coy and not actually telling people what is different. They like to say that things will vary by location, time of day, etc, in order to keep the terrorists guessing. Unfortunately, that just makes our lives more difficult since we don’t know what to expect.
One thing that you can be sure to expect is long lines. For flights coming into the US, we’re seeing a lot of pat downs and hand searches of luggage. Early on, airlines had started to restrict carry-on luggage to speed this process up, but that has mostly disappeared now. So you shouldn’t see any additional restrictions on what you can bring. Just get there early.

It’s worth saying again. Get to the airport early. You may be sunning yourself in Spain, but you’ll want to cut that short and head to the airport early. Besides, there’s nothing worse than be stuck in the airport with a bad sunburn.

On the airplane, all the insane rules of the first few days after the incident occurred have mostly disappeared. You might have heard horror stories of the inflight entertainment being shut down and passengers being required to stay in their seats and not move a muscle for the last hour of the flight. Those rules were quickly repealed, or should I say, made optional based upon the captain’s discretion.

So, to summarize, get to the airport early for your flight back into the US and you shouldn’t have any trouble . . . until the TSA decides to completely change things around again. You never know when that might happen.

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