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Why You Must Take Off Your Shoes For Security & Other Random Airport Questions Answered

Published: 04/30/18

 

When travelling through PBI, you may encounter certain rituals that leave you with more questions than answers. One common question is why do we have to remove our shoes when going through security, but only sometimes, and only at some airports?

So, let’s break it down and answer all of those common questions that flow through your head when it comes time to travel.

Why do I have to take my shoes off for security?

When you pass by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), they can authorize you to take off your shoes as part of their security screening procedures. The only exemptions are:

  • Children under 12 years old

  • Adults 75 years of age and older

  • Members of the military

  • TSA PreCheck passengers

All other passengers will likely undergo shoe screenings. Even those with disabilities will be subject to alternative screening methods. This usually includes a thorough shoe inspection and the person may sit during this screening.

If you are approved for TSA PreCheck, not only are you allowed to leave your shoes on, but your belt, liquids, laptops, and jacket can all remain where they are stowed, whether on your person or within your bag.

However, everyone is subject to security screening either by technology or pat-down, and TSA officers may also swab your hands, mobility devices, and external medical devices to check for explosives.

That TSA PreCheck sure would make passing through security a faster, easier process. Who is eligible for that?

Yes, this definitely would speed things up for you—which is ideal if you fly often. In fact, TSA reported that 94% of TSA PreCheck passengers flew through security in under five minutes last month.

It’s no wonder more than 5 million people have taken advantage of this service given it’s now offered at more than 200 airports—including PBI airport—and for 47 airlines. Today, this is offered for $85 and lasts 5 years. But don’t wait, appointments for approval are filling up fast.

If interested, fill out your applications online (about 5 minutes) and, through the website, schedule an appointment at one of the more than 380 centers around the country.  PBI is one of only 30 airports with an onsite TSA PreCheck office! Once at your appointment, you will be subjected to a background check and fingerprinting (about 10 minutes). You will receive TSA PreCheck approval that day if you pass. Then it’ll be easy flying for the next 5 years.

Remind me, what is the rule about bringing liquids on a plane?

You can bring along any sized liquids in your checked bag, but if you are carrying items on, follow these rules:

  • 3.4 ounces or less per container (to clarify, the container itself has to be less than 3.4 oz, not just its contents)

  • 1 quart-sized, clear bag to carry said liquids

  • 1 bag per person

This rule applies to both standard and TSA PreCheck passengers. This rule also applies to gels and aerosols (like hairspray).

Am I allowed to bring alcohol through TSA?

Yes, mini bottles are allowed, but they must follow the liquid rules above. So, if you already have 1 bag filled, then either another person would have to carry said alcohol, you would have to check your other liquids, or you’ll have to purchase alcohol past security.

I’ve seen a lot more dogs on my flights lately? What’s the deal with pets?

PBI airport is a pet-friendly location and your pets are allowed through the TSA checkpoint.

When passing through TSA, please remove your pet from its carrying case before it goes through the X-ray machine. Be prepared with a leash and expect this process to potentially take more time as the pet carrier is subject to visual and physical inspection.

For more details, rules are subject to each airline, so please check with your airline before your flight to verify you know the most up-to-date information if you plan to fly with your furry friend.

I forgot my identification. Can I still get on my flight?

Whether you forgot your I.D. or had the unfortunate experience of your wallet—which held your license—getting stolen, you still may be able to get on your flight.

This rule is an evolving one so be sure to check with TSA, as well as your airline provider—as soon as you can, but if you have a piece of mail you may be able to get on your plane.

Unfortunately, TSA does not accept photos or photocopies of identification, but since the post office is an independent federal agency, if you have something that was mailed to your house, then you just may be able to return home. For this reason, bringing along a magazine—or even a letter—is a recommended backup.

This is a list of additional accepted forms of identification. Ultimately, it’s recommended that you carry at least two forms of I.D.—if possible—and keep them in separate locations. Then, if your wallet is stolen or your bag goes missing, you will be prepared in this case of emergency.

I wear a head covering for religious reasons? May I keep it on during the security screening?

Yes, you are allowed to keep any religious garment on during your TSA screening, but you may be subject to additional screenings. Additionally, TSA may ask you to remove your head covering, but this would be conducted in a private screening area.

Additionally, if you plan to travel with any religious knives, swords, or similar items, they must be packed in checked luggage and are not permitted through TSA.

I have more questions not covered in this article. Who should I ask?

While traveling you will be subject to the rules set forth by PBI airport, TSA, as well as your airline provider. While rules overlap, they also differ and you may need to check with each entity separately.

Consider who is involved and reach out to the appropriate party. Then ask whether you should consult the others as well or if the information provided is sufficient.

For airport-related questions, you may contact PBI here. We’re glad to help make your travels as enjoyable and simple as possible.

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