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Flight Rules Tweaked: 11 Travel Tips

How to Get Through Airport Security Without a Nervous Breakdown
By
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Aug. 14, 2006 -- The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has updated its flight rules about what plane passengers can -- and can't -- put in carry-on bags.

Last week, the TSA clamped down on liquids carried on board U.S. planes. Those rules came in the wake of a terrorist scare in England, with word of a plot to blow up flights headed to the U.S. by using liquid explosives.

Most liquids, gels, or lotions currently aren't permitted in carry-on baggage. Such items must be in checked baggage, says the TSA's web site.

But the following may still be carried on board:

  • Prescription medicines with a label that matches the name on the passenger's ticket.
  • Baby formula and breast milk, if the passenger is traveling with an infant or small child.
  • Up to 8 ounces of liquid or gel low-blood sugar treatment.
  • Up to 4 ounces of nonprescription liquid medications.

The TSA will also require all passengers to remove their shoes for X-ray with carry-on bags.

"I think it's important that people understand that they can bring their medications, including liquid medications," Phyllis Kozarsky, MD, tells WebMD.

Kozarsky is a professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine and the medical director of TravelWell, a travel health program affiliated with Emory Healthcare.

Travelers Tips

Here are 11 steps passengers can take to make their trip through security as uneventful as possible:

1. Leave pills in their original bottle; don't mix different pills in the same bottle.

Travelers often put pills in one large bottle, and they're not labeled, Kozarsky says. That's not a good idea under the new rules.

Fliers "need to realize that they have to save the bottles and bring them with the labels," says Kozarsky.

2. Check the name on each prescription bottle.

Does the name match your own? It must, under the new security rules.

Of course, you shouldn't be taking someone else's medicine. But if you had a name change since getting the prescription filled you might want to visit your pharmacy to update it.

"I would think that if you went to your local pharmacy and asked your pharmacist and gave them your identification, and you had your insurance card, they probably could make up a new label for you," Kozarsky says.

3. Don't bury medicine bottles in your bag.

Put the pills in an easy-to-reach spot so you can get them quickly for security checks.

Minimizing clutter in your carry-on could also make security screening easier, says the TSA's web site.

4. Pack your patience.

"Just realize that you're going to have some waiting time," Kozarsky advises. "Bring some good reading material and try to be patient and relaxed."

The new rules may not run smoothly right away, so some increased flexibility in dealing with the procedures may come in handy, Kozarsky says.

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