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Cruise Diva's FOCUS is on 
Cruise Travel Safety & Security

Flying the Friendlier Skies to Your Cruise Port

Road trips are fun for short jaunts but for speed and convenience, give us a ticket to fly.

Take a moment and imagine what travel must have been like for America's pioneers. They aimed their wagon trains west and crossed prairies, deserts, and mountains to settle this great land. Undaunted, they endured great hardships to reach their destinations.

What would those pioneers think of twenty-first century air travel? Could they have envisioned a day when people would soar effortlessly through the sky? No, of course not. Even in the twenty-first century, air travel is something of a mystery to most people. How do those big, heavy planes actually defy gravity? No matter, they do it somehow and they do it reliably. Road trips are fun for short jaunts, but for speed and convenience, give us a ticket to fly.

What about your personal safety and security? It seems that it's never been safer to fly. Passengers can expect more personal scrutiny by airport security personnel and items we never regarded as "tools" or "weapons" are now banned from carry-on luggage.

As a general rule, allow plenty of time to check in, at least two hours for domestic flights and three to four hours for international travel. Curbside check-in may be available but you should be prepared to take your luggage inside and wait in line.

Generally, anything that is sharp or sprays (even perfume & hair spray) should go in your checked luggage.

Pack light and carry on only what is absolutely necessary, such as medicine and a minimal toiletry kit. Diabetics requiring insulin shots should check with the airline regarding their carry-on policy. Having a physician's letter explaining the necessity for syringes is always a good idea.

Airport security searches are conducted thoroughly and the less you have, the quicker you'll get through them. Be prepared to take your laptop computer out of its case and send it through x-ray in a separate tray. Also remove your shoes and jacket to send them through.

Air travelers may carry only certain liquids, gels and aerosols in their carry-on bag when going through security checkpoints subject to the following rules:

  • All liquids, gels and aerosols must be in three-ounce or smaller containers. Larger containers that are half-full or toothpaste tubes rolled up are not allowed. Each container must be three ounces or smaller.
  • All liquids, gels and aerosols must be placed in a single, quart-size, zip-top, clear plastic bag. Gallon size bags or bags that are not zip-top such as fold-over sandwich bags are not allowed. Each traveler can use only one, quart-size, zip-top, clear plastic bag.
  • Each traveler must remove their quart-sized plastic, zip-top bag from their carry-on and place it in a bin or on the conveyor belt for X-ray screening. X-raying separately will allow security officers to more easily examine the declared items.

There are exceptions for baby formula, breast milk, and other essential liquids, gels, and aerosols, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines.

Following is a partial list of items to avoid putting in your carry-on:

  • Swiss Army Knife or Leatherman Tool
  • Scissors (with blades longer than four inches)
  • Cork screws
  • Screwdrivers (longer than seven inches in length)
  • Can openers
  • Razor blades
  • Cans of pepper spray or mace

Generally, anything that is sharp or sprays should go in your checked luggage to avoid scrutiny. It goes without saying that your spray bottles should be enclosed in a zipper-lock plastic bag in case of spillage. Standard guidelines of allowable/banned items are listed in full at the Transportation Security Administration web site.

Many travelers use plastic cable ties to secure luggage zippers--as much to prevent baggage handlers from introducing anything into them as to keep them from removing personal belongings. Packing manicure scissors and fingernail clippers inside checked luggage will make removing the cable ties somewhat challenging. One suggestion is to put the nail clippers in an outside, unsecured pocket of a checked bag. Various suitcase styles have a small outside pocket with a single zipper and nail clippers are unlikely to be stolen. Even if yours end up missing, you can usually count on hotel front desks and cabin stewards to have a handy pair of scissors.

Most importantly, use common sense while you pack and bring along your patience and sense of humor when you fly.

Back to Cruise Diva's FOCUS on Safety & Security

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