TSA Luggage Requirement: What to remember when packing

These days, there are so many rules to keep in mind when it comes to packing your suitcase for a trip. Upon boarding a plane and jet-setting to your destination, your luggage has to make it through security. And the last thing anyone wants to deal with is having something tossed into the trash by a TSA agent.

To prevent that from happening to you, and to make getting through security a breeze, there are a few tips you should keep in mind. By referring to these TSA luggage requirements, you’ll be able to board the plane with everything you originally packed.

The TSA Doesn’t Have a Say in the Size of Your Luggage

For some, it may come as a surprise, but the TSA doesn’t regulate luggage sizes. They’re strictly paying attention to what’s inside your bag. That means they’re not going to tell you if your bag is too large for a carry-on and needs to be checked instead. However, it’s still smart to double-check the size of your luggage before you start packing.

If you’re hoping to just get by with a carry-on, you’ll need to make sure it fits within the size requirements. An average carry-on measures 22” x 14” x 9”, however this will vary by airline. Make sure you find out beforehand so you aren’t left to unexpectedly check a bag at the last minute or else it could leave you with an additional fee to pay.

You Can Designate a Bag for Your Electronics

When you’re going through the TSA security checkpoint, you will most likely be asked to remove any electronics that are larger than a cellphone from your carry-on luggage. This includes tablets and laptops because the TSA agent will need to screen it carefully before they’ll allow you to board a flight with it.

To make the process easier, the TSA has encouraged flyers to pack their electronics inside checkpoint-friendly bags. What kind of bag do they recommend? They’d prefer you have a bag with separate compartments to hold things like your laptop or tablet. These bags zip open and lay flat on the conveyor belt as they make their way towards the X-ray machine. Although having one of these bags isn’t required, it just makes it easier!

Remember the Liquids Rule

By now, you’re probably well aware that TSA has some pretty strict requirements when it comes to liquids. Don’t expect to bring full-size bottles of your favorite shampoo and conditioner aboard your flight! Everything needs to be in small, travel-friendly bottles.

If you are bringing any kind of liquid, gel, cream, paste, or even an aerosol, it needs to be in a travel-sized container that is 3.4-ounces or less per item. Not only that, but you’ll need to place these items in a small bag that separates them from the rest of your carry-on. This makes the screening process much easier for you and the TSA agents.

One final rule for storing your liquids? Everything needs to be inside a clear, zip-top, one-quart bag. And remember that you’re only allowed to bring a single one-quart bag of liquids per person, so make sure you’re smart about your choices. If something won’t fit, consider if you can purchase it once you arrive at your destination. You can easily find reusable bags for your liquids so you can travel with them time and time again, as this is essential to getting you through security with all your items intact.

Get the Right Lock for Peace of Mind

When you’re sending your luggage off into the world, it can be a little scary. You don’t have any way of knowing who will have access to your suitcase when it’s not in your possession. For this reason, many people like having the ability to lock their luggage so they don’t have to worry about someone going in their bag.

However, it’s not as simple as you might think. You can’t put just any old lock on your suitcase and think it’s okay. There are actually TSA luggage requirements regarding locks. And if your lock isn’t TSA-approved, it might get cut right off your suitcase.

Luckily, the TSA has collaborated with a number of companies to make travel locks that are suitable for all frequent flyers. Many of these locks can be opened by a TSA master key, which gives agents the ability to open a bag, inspect it, and lock it again without doing damage.

Know What’s on the Prohibited List

Luckily for frequent flyers, the TSA has made it easy to find out what’s not allowed to board the flight with you. You can actually see the full list over on their website. And it would be wise to review it beforehand so you don’t wind up experiencing an airport mishap when you’re trying to get through security. Everything from flammables, firearms, food, household items, sharp objects, sporting/camping gear, and other miscellaneous items — their site covers it all.

For example, there are a variety of sharp items that are banned from being inside your carry-on. This includes things like pocket knives, sabers, and swords. Although they cannot be in a carry-on, they can go inside your checked luggage.

Still Not Sure About an Item? Ask the TSA!

If there’s something you want to bring along on your next trip, but you aren’t sure what TSA will say about it… Just ask them! You can easily reach out to TSA directly via Twitter or Facebook Messenger.

All you have to do is snap a picture or send a question and they’ll be in touch. They answer questions from 8 AM to 10 PM Eastern on weekdays and 9 AM to 7 PM on weekends and holidays.

It doesn’t get much easier than that and it should make getting through airport security a breeze every time you fly.