With all the government shutdown chatter and the upcoming debt ceiling threats, you might have missed that recently the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), those lovely people who make sure we're safe at airports and traveling on planes have loosened their check-in rules. They've relaxed some regulations and made the items list of what's prohibited a bit shorter.
It's all part of the TSA Pre✓™ program. Some of the new and improved procedures:
... that allows pre-approved airline travelers to leave on their shoes, light outerwear and belt, keep their laptop in its case and their 3-1-1 compliant liquids/gels bag in a carry-on in select screening lanes.
Travel-sized toiletries like hair gel and moisturizer are also allowed, as long as they are packed in clear plastic baggies. "Eye drops, lip-gloss, whatever you need if it's in a three-ounce container or smaller," said Kip Hawley, TSA..
A few other, somewhat eye-catching items have been approved for carry on by the TSA as well:
- Small knives with non-locking blades smaller than 2.36 inches and less than 1/2 inch in width will be permitted
- Small Novelty Bats and Toy Bats
- Ski Poles
- Hockey Sticks
- Lacrosse Sticks
- Billiard Cues
- Golf Clubs (Limit Two)
Before you get too excited, the TSA, a week later, rescinded the pocket knife rule. I'm glad to hear that because if I'm still prohibited from carrying on a bottle of Gatorade or a tube of toothpaste, I don't want the passenger next to me packing a knife. Though a pointed ski pole, or hockey stick does give me a bit of pause. And what about that novelty baseball bat (similar to police billy clubs) or a golfer's sand wedge -- couldn't they be at least as lethal as my toothpaste with breath freshener and tooth whitener?
I'm not sure who sits on the TSA committee but maybe a bit more common sense is still needed here. I want to fly safe, but maybe there's still a bit of Chicken Little, "the sky is falling" thinking permeating those meeting rooms. I'm still surprised that the TSA isn't asking for underwear checks since the underwear bomber. I know that happened only once, but same with the shoe bomber, that only happened one time, and until now we all had to remove our shoes for the past ten years.
Here's a fun little video to let you know about the new relaxed travel restrictions and what they'll mean to us, and our traveling companions, the next time we take to the friendly skies: