Airport Security Travel Tips

To insure passenger safety, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has imposed strict security procedures at our nation’s airport. Here are some tips to help you comply with the new regulations.


  • Arrive at the airport at least two hours before flight time; there might be long lines at check-in counters and security screening checkpoints.
  • If you are traveling with a tour group or cruise group, you are no longer allowed to check in for flights at hotels or at the cruise terminals. You must check in at the airport.
  • If someone is dropping you off at the airport, the driver must stay with the vehicle at all times. The driver should not leave the vehicle unattended, even for a moment.
  • You must have a picture I. D. such as a driver’s license, passport, or government-issued identification.
  • Your name on your ticket must exactly match your name as it appears on the identification you present at the airport.
  • If your name has recently changed and the name on your ticket and your I. D. are different, bring documentation of the change (e.g., a marriage certificate or court order).
  • If you are traveling with an e-ticket, you must show a copy of your e-ticket receipt when you check-in.
  • The FAA also requires all non-U.S. citizens boarding international flights in the United States to show evidence of admission into the United States. Evidence of admission can consist of visas, I-94, parole letter, admission stamp, alien resident card, etc.
  • Passengers who do not have baggage to check and already have an approved boarding document, as outlined below, may proceed to the security checkpoint.


  • As you approach the security screening checkpoint, you must show a valid picture I. D. and one of the following boarding documents that indicates a flight departure for the current date
  • 1) A receipt for an electronic ticket;
    2) An itinerary generated by an airline or travel agency that confirms an electronic ticket;
    3) A boarding pass; or
    4) A paper ticket.

  • At the securtiy checkpoint, you must remove your shoes, your jacket, and any metallic items such as jewelry or belt buckles, and you must place them in a plastic tub for screening. You must also place in the tub any electronic equipment such as computers, cell phones, cameras, and iPods.
  • If you have a carry-on bag that contains liquids, gels, pastes, or other such items, these items must be in containers no larger than 3 oz in size, and the containers must be stored in a single, clear, gallon-size plastic bag. Remove the plastic bag and place it in the plastic tub for screening.
  • After placing all of the required items in plastic tubs, you can place the tubs and your carry-on bag on the conveyor for screening.
  • You may now approach the passenger scanning gate, and when directed by a security official, walk through the gate. If an alarm sounds, the official will advise you and ask you to pass through the gate again. If the alarm sounds again, the official will ask you to search your pockets for something metallic. Often pocket change, metallic eyeglass frames, or a cell phone will trigger the alarm. You must remove any items that might trigger the alarm, and place them in a tub for the conveyor. This process will continue until the official has identified the cause of the alarm. To aid in the search for the offending item, the official might use a hand wand to help locate the source of the problem. This happens fairly often, and you should not be alarmed if it happens to you. Eventually the offending item will be found, and you will then be free to proceed to your plane.
  • CAUTION: At the security checkpoint, the security officials are totally focused on the screening process, and they are not watching your belongings after they pass through the scanner. While you are at the passenger screening gate, it would be easy for someone to snatch your camera or laptop computer from the conveyor. To mininmize the time that your possesions are out of sight, don't rush to put them on the conveyor. Instead, hang on to them as long as you can. If you are travelling with others, make a point of watching out for each others possesions.


  • Keep your luggage and carry-on bags with you at all times prior to arriving at the airport and while in the terminal. Unattended bags will likely be confiscated – and destroyed – by airport security.
  • The FAA recommends that passengers be allowed to have one carry-on bag and either a purse or briefcase. Airlines have the option of following the FAA's recommendation. Check with your travel agent for information on carry-on luggage restrictions.
  • Do not accept any packages or materials from strangers.
  • Do not carry any sharp instruments (i.e., letter openers, pocket knives, box cutters, scissors, etc,) on you are in your carry-on luggage. They will be confiscated at airport screening stations.
  • If you see any suspicious activity or see unattended bags, contact airline or airport personnel immediately.
  • Carry medications in your carry-on bags.
  • Hold onto your baggage claim check.


Screening baggage for safety purposes is part of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) mandate. Here are some some suggestions regarding locking your luggage.

In some cases TSA screeners must open your luggage as part of the screening process. If your bag is unlocked, TSA will simply open and screen the bag. If the bag is locked, you will be asked to unlock it for screening.

If your luggage is locked with a standard lock, the mandatory screening of checked luggage will necessitate breaking the lock. TSA is not responsible for damage caused to locked bags that must be opened for security purposes.

Travel LocksIf you want to lock your luggage, TSA recommends the use of TSA-approved locks. These locks come with keys or combinations for security, but they can also be opened with a special tool by TSA. Use of these locks provides travelers with the security that they desire, and they permit the mandatory luggage screening without damaging the lock or the bag. TSA-approved locks are available in luggage stores and other locations where travel products are sold. They are also available online at:

Approved Travel Lock Logo Look for the TSA logo on the lock

© American Society of Travel Agents and Norfolk Airport Authority