Archive for the ‘3-1-1’ Category

TSA Transportation Security Administration Air Travel Review

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Although there are more flight travel rules than you could ever fully understand, the basics are fairly simple and boil down to the following notes from the TSA:

TSA’s  Prohibited Items  NOT all-inclusive but helpful.

3-1-1 Rule – CONSOLIDATE your liquids and gels into a single see-through bag.    Liquids and gels must be in containers smaller than 3.4 ounces (100 mililiters), and you can only have ONE bag that is ONE quart sized.    Zip lock freezer bags are a good way to go as they are sturdy, cheap, and easy to replace if spills or tears ruin them during travel.

For Travelers   General travel tips from the TSA

ID Requirements … Especially important for International travelers who can in some (rare) circumstances be denied entry if they don’t have the right papers/visas/passports/ID.

Prohibited Items in Carry on Luggage

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Even a frequent traveler can get confused and confounded by the rules regarding what you can put in carry-on luggage, in checked baggage, and what you cannot bring onto the airplane.    It’s all getting a bit mathematical, so don’t forget these two important rules:

3-1-1  Rule.    This regards LIQUIDS in CARRY ON luggage and means that you must place all liquids and gels in containers that are UNDER 3 ounces, place them in a SINGLE clear plastic bag or pouch that is ONE QUART or less.  Unless you travel very rarely it’s a great idea to have separate a separate stash of tiny bottle of shampoo, toothpaste, and other personal care items etc so you don’t have to reorganize too much every time you go.   Note the rule generally includes medicines in liquid form.   I think there may be an exception for medicine, but this is probably more hassle than it’s usually worth.

45 inch rule:  Although it’s routinely not followed, your carry on measurement in inches is supposed to be 45.    e.g. a bag 12x13x20 = 45 inches should be fine, where a bag 15x15x20 = 50 is technically too large.

I just learned that  “gel insoles” for shoes are NOT allowed in carry on or in your shoes *unless* the gel is built into the shoe.     Also surprising to me was that scissors are allowed in carry on as long as the blades are less than 4″.   That said I wouldn’t try to bring on a pair as I’m guessing many TSA folks would confiscate them as they did with considerable fanfare when they took my daughter’s plastic barbie scissors some years back, undoubtedly landing her in some TSA database for life or on the  9 year old, 4′ 2″ watch list.

For those of us who prefer not to check baggage it’s getting a bit harder to pack because now any prohibited “carry on” items can’t simply be stuck in the checked bag.     As with the 3-1-1 rule you need to be cautious or you’ll wind up getting valuable items or expensive liquids taken away.

I’m about to make a trip from Reno to Philadelphia and not sure if my electric shaver is allowed in carry on – I think yes, but no mention of that object at the TSA site.

TSA Official Website “Prohibited Items” lists are HERE

Carry-on baggage, luggage rules

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

As the convenience of checked baggage diminishes even as the cost skyrockets to check your luggage,  most people now opt to use the “carry on” baggage rules and bring a small suitcase on board the aircraft, usually along with a large purse, backpack, or laptop bag.     Careful packing and planning means that most people who don’t require a new outfit every day can fairly easily fit everything they need – even for a trip of a week or more – in their carry-on luggage.

For most airlines the dimension of a carry on are 45 inches in total – meaning you simply add the highth, width, and depth of the  bag.   For example a bag with dimensions 12x12x21 should be OK as well as a bag of  14x14x 17 inches.  Technically any airline can can reject bags for many reasons, but in practice you are going to be just fine sticking with the 45 inch rule and probably even fudging a bit over these measurements.    However bringing large bags may get you some glares from the other passengers as you stuff your oversized luggage into “their” bin.    A major challenge of flying now is that with so many carry on luggage folks using the overhead bins, there is little or no extra room in those bins or under seats.  Often the carry-on bags need to be stowed in bins away from your seat or handed over to flight attendants, slowing the boarding process.

It is surprising to me how poorly organized the baggage and boarding process has become – I’d suggest to the airlines that more effective use or design of the overhead  bins is immediately in order.   Flight attendants, for example, know how to most efficiently stow bags yet they generally are not helpful as flyers tug, push, crunch and smash their and other bags into the dwindling available spaces.   Another innovation might be to redesign the bins or bin doors so they can hold more, or find ways to use the massive cargo space that must now exist below as flyers increasingly turn to carry on options rather than checking bags.

Another aspect of Carry-on rules are “Prohibited Items”.    Generally for that you’ll want to observe the 3-1-1 rule we discussed earlier.   More details are here at the TSA Transportation Security Administration‘s official site.  The link takes you to the “prohibited items” section.

3-1-1 Rule from TSA

Saturday, May 14th, 2011

TSA’s “3-1-3” rule about your toiletries/liquids/gels has not changed very much in the last five years, but for me the details of what you can and can’t bring and how you need to declare things are always a bit of a travel challenge as you struggle through the security lines removing belts and computers while managing your kids or parents.

First off, it’s recommended you pull together a “travel kit” with the stuff you’ll need in appropriate (100ml or less) bottles.    If you travel as much as I do, it’s good to have this separate from your normal day to day stuff.   You then just need to review the travel kit for anything you might need that might not have applied on your last trip (e.g. a medicine, suntan lotion, insect repellant, etc)

If you are checking bags put stuff there – it’ll save the hassles at security.  Unfortunately many of us no longer check bags due to convenience and/or cost issues … and hey, why are you taking up MY space in the overhead bin!

Consider bringing pills rather than liquids when you can.  e.g. pepto bismol, cough and cold medicines, etc.   This makes things easier to manage.

Source: TSA Website
3-1-1 for carry-ons = 3.4 ounce (100ml) bottle or less (by volume) ; 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; 1 bag per passenger placed in screening bin. One-quart bag per person limits the total liquid volume each traveler can bring. 3.4 ounce (100ml) container size is a security measure.

3-1-1 is for short trips. If in doubt, put your liquids in checked luggage.

Declare larger liquids. Medications, baby formula and food, and breast milk are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding three ounces and are not required to be in the zip-top bag. Declare these items for inspection at the checkpoint. Officers may need to open these items to conduct additional screening.

TSA Tips for Travelers

Friday, July 16th, 2010

The TSA Website regularly offers features and tips on travel, and you’ll be better prepared if you check in before trips.     Rules are starting to stabilize after the dramatic security changes created by the 9/11 terror attacks on the USA, but unless you fly regularly you may be unpleasantly surprised by some of the rules.

The most important change since 9/11 has been the liquids rules, which restrict the amount of liquid you can bring through security.    I think the simplest approach if you check bags is to place your gels and liquids there, but if you need to carry them be sure they conform to the rules or you may loose that expensive new shampoo you just bought for the trip.

Liquids rules from TSA – remember it’s 3-1-1 3 ounce or LESS container in a SINGLE ONE QUART clear bag.    You may place several containers in the same quart clear bag.

Transportation Security Administration TSA

Saturday, July 28th, 2007

This is an OLD post.  For the latest on TSA Requirements CLICK HERE for TSA Travel Information


The TSA here in the USA has a very big job. They are charged with protecting the millions of travelers who travel daily in, out, and around the country.

All travelers should spend at least a few minutes getting familiar with security basics here at the TSA “for travelers” web page here. Most important is managing your liquids, toothpaste and other gels using the 3-1-1 rule.

Overall the TSA website suffers from the typical bureaucratic challenges of telling people much more than they need or want to know about the organization while leaving key details about travel too thinly discussed. TSA is a place where it would be very advantageous to have a blog team with access to up to the minute information about delays, lines, airport and airline security information and then post up to the minute on their blog to help travelers with access get around.

An example of “travel inefficiencies” that create lose-lose situations came up Thursday on our trip home from PHL Philadelphia. We wanted to visit the shopping/dining section of PHL because we had several hours to kill, but because of the odd setup at PHL this would have required us to either stand in a HUGE line for D concourse and then find a way to C concourse vs walking in to E (with no line!) which was where we needed to be to leave. I’m sure if I knew the place inside out I could have used the bus system more effectively, but given that PHL so heavily promotes the shopping and dining area you’d think they’d arrange things such that you could easily hang out there without worrying about missing a flight. The discrepancy in line length was odd as well and I’ve seen this very often. TSA seems to use humans where machines would be better and perhaps vica versa. As Thomas Edison pointed out — there is a better way – find it (please…!).