TSA'S TOP THREE: Inspect Luggage at Home, Arrive Early and Plan for the Security Screening Process.
Oakland, Calif. - With schools closed for the summer, affordable fares for the asking and a recovering economy, lots of people are expected to travel over the next three to four months. The following tips, from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), can help speed travelers and their gear through security screening at Oakland International Airport (OAK):
-Inspect Luggage - Before leaving for the airport, thoroughly inspect your luggage and carry-on bags for items on TSA's Prohibited Items list - visit tsa.gov. For example, TSA recently began enforcing a ban on fuel-filled lighters in airport sterile areas and onboard aircraft. TSA classifies lighters as hazardous materials and will dispose of any brought to the checkpoints.
-Arrive Early - OAK travelers are urged to arrive at their airline check-in counter or kiosk at least 90 minutes before domestic departures and three hours before international departures. Check with your airline for additional check in suggestions. Construction activity and lane closures are scheduled throughout the summer on roadways leading to the airport. Plan ahead and leave enough time so you don't miss your flight.
-Boarding Pass and I.D. - To proceed through OAK's security screening checkpoint, all travelers age 18 and older must show a government-issued photo identification and all passengers must have either a boarding pass or other airline-approved security document. Check with your airline to see if it offers online check-in which can be done at home or the office before leaving for the airport.
-Divest, Divest, Divest - Pack a resealable see-through plastic bag to store loose metal items such as coins, keys, cell phones, pagers and jewelry. When approaching the passenger security checkpoint, place these items in the plastic bag, then place the plastic bag in your carry-on luggage. This will help you avoid a secondary inspection which can average three minutes per person.
-Sporting Goods - Oversized equipment such as fishing tackle and sports gear (bats and lacrosse sticks, etc.) must be checked at the ticket counter. Scuba tanks and gas containers for grills and stoves are not allowed on commercial airlines for safety reasons. Before flying, clean off golf clubs, bags and shoes to prevent grass fertilizer residue from triggering baggage screening equipment.
-Tag & Unlock Bags - Place identification tags inside and on all bags, including a label on laptop computers. Keep all checked bags unlocked or use a TSA-recognized locking mechanism for mandatory search by TSA screeners.
-Summer Campers - Every summer, thousands of kids travel to summer or scout camps. Be sure to check the camp's suggested supply list against the TSA prohibited items list at tsa.gov to avoid headaches at the security checkpoints since items like pocketknives and pointed tip scissors are not permitted in carry-on bags. Also, parents and camp counselors can call ahead to airlines for permission to escort children to and from gates. Remember, children under 18 are not required to travel with identification.
-Fireworks - Fireworks are prohibited on airplanes and in checked or carry-on bags, for safety and security reasons.
-Film - Passengers traveling with undeveloped film should pack these items in their carry-on bags since checked baggage screening equipment will damage or destroy undeveloped film.
-Lotions, Spray and Foods - Sun tan lotion, bug repellant and other skin care products can be packed in either checked or carry-on bags, but travelers should check with their airline before flying with aerosol canisters as some canisters are flammable. Pack food products in carry-on bags but realize that some food products might cause your checked bag to be screened for security reasons.
-Packing Bags - It can be tempting to overpack bags when vacationing. TSA suggests that travelers consider how they pack and understand that screeners may have to open and physically search a bag as part of the screening process. Overstuffed bags are more difficult to close once opened which could result in delays for checked luggage.
-Summer Clothes - Warm-weather wear such as sandals and lightweight clothes are more "checkpoint-friendly." However, at most airports, including OAK, it is suggested that travelers continue to remove outer jackets and shoes and place them in the bins at the passenger checkpoint.
For a complete list of items prohibited from either carry-on or checked bags, visit tsa.gov.
OAK currently has over 200 flights a day on 12 domestic and international carriers to 42 nonstop destinations, including Atlanta, Boston, the Hawaiian Islands, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Mexico City and Mexico beach cities, and seasonal service to the Azores (Portugal), Costa Rica and Sun Valley, Idaho. OAK served 14.1 million passengers and handled 672,000 metric tons of cargo in 2004. The airport is a revenue division of the Port of Oakland, an independent department of the city of Oakland.
Since breaking ground in April 2004, OAK's Terminal Improvement Program is on track for completion in 2007. This $150 million program is the Port's largest aviation project in its 78-year history and includes the Terminal 2 project which adds a new concourse with five additional boarding gates and waiting areas; expanded ticketing, security and baggage claim facilities; new utilities; and the Terminal Roadway and Curbside project that will improve terminal access and ease congestion in front of the terminals. Visit oaklandairport.com for more information.