By Kristi Casey Sanders
Now that airlines have implemented new restrictions on carry-on luggage and checked items, some planners are examining ways to minimize the amount of luggage attendees need to bring with them. Consider booking facilities that have onsite computer services, so attendees can leave laptops at home, and adopting a casual dress code to make packing easier.
Many hotels chains are expanding their lines of complimentary toiletries to make up for the loss of carry-on grooming products. Omni Hotels added high-end women’s cosmetics, sunscreen and skin care products, and salon-quality hair care products to its list of free guest amenities. Wyndham Hotels & Resorts’ “We Remember What You Forgot” program added complimentary contact lens solution, hair spray, styling gel, and bottled water to its list of 17 often forgotten basics such as toothpaste, toothbrushes and deodorant. Marriott Corporate is encouraging its individual properties to add items to the chain’s Virtual Concierge service, so guests can go online and choose which toiletries should be waiting for them when they check in.
Even though newspapers have reported on the new restrictions, planners should make sure all attendees are familiar with the new guidelines before they fly. Here’s a list of tips guaranteed to minimize hassles at the airport:
- Place all liquid, aerosol and gel items — including drinks, gel shoe inserts, deodorants, toothpaste, mouthwash, mosquito repellent, lotions, bath oil, perfume, shampoo, contact lens solution and lip gloss — in checked baggage. The only exceptions to this ban are baby formula, prescription medications with the passenger’s name on the label, and up to four ounces of eye drops. Liquids and gels purchased after the security checkpoint must be disposed of before boarding the aircraft. Many hotels chains, such as Omni and Wyndham, are expanding their lines of complimentary toiletries to make up for the loss of carry-on grooming products.
- Lighters and matches are prohibited from checked and carry-on baggage, although passengers may check up to two fueled Zippo lighters if they are properly enclosed in a clearly marked Department of Transportation-approved case.
- Solid cosmetics and personal hygiene items, such as lipstick and lip balm, are permitted as are gel-filled bras and prosthetics and gel-filled wheelchair cushions.
- All types of footwear must be removed prior to security screening. Disposable booties or slippers may be worn through the checkpoint, but must be disposed of before leaving the screening area.
- Scanners are set to register all metal items, so avoid wearing any clothing, jewelry (including body piercings), belts, underwire bras or other accessories with metal in them, or expect to be selected for further screening. Make sure your pockets are emptied of loose change, cell phones, keys and personal digital assistants.
- When possible, pack your coats and jackets in your checked baggage, or make sure to place them in a bin to go through the X-ray machine during the security screening. Remove all outer coats, suit jackets and sweaters and put them through the X-ray machine, as well.
- Keep your photo ID and boarding pass out until after you pass through the metal detectors. Boarding passes are available from your airline’s ticket counter as well as from curbside check-in, self-service kiosks in the lobby and from your airline’s Web site.
- Don’t pack wrapped gifts or bring wrapped gifts to the security checkpoint. Wrap on arrival or ship gifts prior to departure.
- Place laptop and video cameras with cassettes out of their cases in the bins provided at the security checkpoint. Put all cameras and film in your carry-on bag; checked baggage scanners will damage undeveloped film.
- Pack as lightly as possible and only use a TSA-approved lock if you must lock checked bags. Bring a maximum of one carry-on bag.
- Arrive at least 90 minutes before departure; give yourself two hours during peak air travel times, such as Fridays, Sundays and mid-morning.
For an updated list of permitted and prohibited items, as well as up-to-date news and traveling tips, visit tsa.gov.