Airport Travel – Dos and Don’ts
Dress nicely and smartly. Avoid any fancy metallic-embedded clothing that might set off detectors and subject you to a strip-search.
Ideally, do a web-check in 24 hours ahead of time so you don’t have to stand in line.
There are 3 checkpoints
-A TSA agent that checks your valid government-issued photo ID and flight ticket. TSA is not immigration and not supposed to look for a visa but they have time to waste sometimes. It also makes sense for this reason to fly during heavy traffic hours.
Open up your passport to the valid ID page so the agent doesn’t have to flip through the passport and see any expired visas. They usually do not check for a visa of any sort, even on foreign passports. If you have a state ID, you need not worry about this though REAL ID may now stipulate some additional documentation. DO NOT EVER answer immigration questions that may reveal your status. You have a right to a lawyer if you are detained. If you end up in trouble at any time, call 415-808-4444
(If you are flying with checked-in bagged, that would be your first checkpoint—checking in the baggage. Airlines now charge $15 for this. If you have a short itinerary, skip the checked baggage and simply get two small carry-on items on the airplane like a backpack and a laptop bag).
-The main security checkpoint where you are subjected to a metal detector search
-And finally, handing over your airline ticket to the agent.
Tips for the Main Security Checkpoint
You do not need your ID for this checkpoint but just a boarding pass.
After smiling nicely and speaking politely to the first TSA agent, prepare to take some empty tubs and take off your shoes, watch, belt, cellphone and anything else that may set off metal detectors. Laptops, electronic items such as video games and toiletry bags must be taken out of bags and screened separately in a tub. Toiletries should be in a separate clear ziplock bag with your liquids separated. Water bottles and food items from outside would probably be trashed but you can buy food at the gates (last checkpoint) to take on the plane trip.
After passing through this main security point, you are safe. You MIGHT get subject to a random search or if you somehow set off the metal detectors. Stay calm and let them do a pat-down.
It goes without saying that after passing the second checkpoint, you should gather all belongings and head to camp out in your gate area till your flight starts boarding. You also do not need your ID at this point.
On the plane
You’ll get a complimentary beverage. Snacks are $$.
Please note: Nothing in this post denotes legal advice or is offered in substitution of advice from a lawyer. Success is not guaranteed and different people have different results.