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December 26th, 2009
06:15 AM ET

How to speed up airport security

In the wake of what the government is calling a failed terrorism attempt on an inbound international flight, federal officials are saying security efforts at airports could take longer.
This comes on one of the busiest flying weekends of the year.
The TSA has tips on how to speed up the airport security process.
We'll be sharing these with you in the Newsroom.
Let us know your experience as you, or your loved ones, travel this weekend.

Post by:
Filed under: Josh Levs
soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. Mitzi Brown

    Don't pack candles in your carry-on bag either. Even in factory sealed packaging, security has to unwrap it, wipe it down and attempt to re-package. Very time consuming.

    December 26, 2009 at 7:06 am |
  2. TSA screener


    Almost on a daily basis I wonder why passengers do not take the time to log onto the TSA website to view the requirements and list of what not to take.
    I appreciate the time you took to CLEARLY and SIMPLY state some of the most common mistakes passengers make and the amount of cumulative time that adds up when they fail to do so.
    NICE JOB!!!!
    Merry Christmas

    December 26, 2009 at 7:09 am |
  3. Lee

    I travel on this flight from Amsterdam to Detroit monthly. There is a secondary security in Amsterdam at the gate. It is one of the stricter secondary checkpoints that requires a personal interview as well as shoe removal and another screening before entering the gate.

    Amsterdam is an airport that does allow passengers to purchase liquids in the airport ranging from alcohol to fingernail polish remover, which are sealed in a bag and can be carried onto the plane. These bags are not scrutinized in the security check in process.

    I believe that there will always be a way regardless of how strict security is attempted. Security checking has become very predictable for the frequent traveler. We are the ones who should be consulted.

    December 26, 2009 at 7:38 am |
  4. lenore ninis

    Why not ban all liquids, pastes, etc. Then, once through check-in have the usual toiletries, etc., for sale at little cost. Suggest a brand and product made especially for travellers and/or airline. Prescription medicine should be accompanied by appropriate certificate or some such guarantee.

    December 26, 2009 at 7:38 am |
  5. Kim Kaiser

    Josh –

    The US should not do ANYTHING MORE. They already have by far the very best system.

    Forget the "security experts" - I recently flew from Michigan to Africa and back, traveling through Amsterdam.

    I have an artificial hip and it sets off the security screening at EVERY airport in the US and NONE of the airports in Amsterdam or Africa.

    Let me repeat - NONE OF THE AIRPORTS outside of the US had the metal detectors set high enough to even pick up the metal in my hip.

    The highest level of security for my entire trip was in my local airport in Saginaw, Michigan. Shoes off, hand wanded and patted down because my implant sets off the metal detector. I was ready but at NO OTHER AIRPORT did I even have to take off my shoes.

    Amsterdam was a JOKE! They screen you right before you get on the plane and not very well. It was chaos.

    December 26, 2009 at 7:55 am |
  6. ronvan

    For me, the question is not how to speed up the process, but to increase security efforts & technology to try and prevent these kind of actions. Until ALL of us realize that, if flying, we are going to have to accept the loss of some of our "RIGHTS" to protect everyone these problems will continue.

    December 26, 2009 at 8:18 am |
  7. Austin Miller

    I am currently at the Salt Lake City airport, and everything has gone good so far. I did the curbside checkin, and then I had to wait about 10-15 minutes to get through security and now I am ready to boared. If you do not do curbside checkin the lines are very long to get baggage checked in. The airport is getting busier and busier every minute. Overall I haven't had any problems.

    December 26, 2009 at 8:48 am |
  8. stuart nacht

    A guy passes security in Nigeria with explosives and our response is to create fear and panic in this country with our security. They continue to govern with fear. Our security does not need to change. They just need to pay attention and do their jobs. Tis is about other countries and airline international communication of lists of passengers. Our answer is not to make our lines slower so we feel like we are safer.

    December 26, 2009 at 8:54 am |
  9. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    Theres no way I would fly now days our country is more worried about some over seas rights then they are peoples lives we need to start profiling no matter how much they resist.

    December 26, 2009 at 9:23 am |
  10. Whit

    Also the TSA screeners leave a lot to be desired in compentance and professionlism.

    December 26, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  11. John Garrison


    If the Airline's didn't charge extra money for checking your bags, maybe the lines at security wouldn't be so long. Just a thought.......

    December 26, 2009 at 9:54 am |
  12. John Bird

    All very good advice – EXCEPT the bit about placing your coat in a checked bag. Bags are routinely delayed or lost and if you arrive in say Oklahoma in the severe winter weather and don't have a coat !
    No thanks – I'll keep my coat close at hand !


    December 26, 2009 at 9:56 am |
  13. Jack Cushing Hudkins

    Even heightened security is compromised by airport personnel who prey on international travelers. Airport personnel have total power for security purposes. This power gives them opportunity to indirectly solicit bribes from international travelers who will pay because they are in a situation of fear. Security for air travel is therefore reduced by the very people who are supposed to provide it. This is true in Amsterdam, Malaysia, Bangkok, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tokyo. This remark from me comes from personal experience.

    December 26, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  14. Gary Brown


    Breathe slowly, deep breaths. Nothing about the attampted attack on the Delta airliner is today a "fast moving, developing story." The only new news this morning has been Nic Roberts report on where Abdulmutallab reportedly lived in London. Cool the hype. Thanks.


    December 26, 2009 at 10:29 am |

    Here at home we as Americans need to quit being so Politically Correct. Instead of screening old ladies to fill quotas at airports, the TSA should focus on those who look like terrorists. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and acts like a duck, it IS a duck!

    December 26, 2009 at 10:30 am |
  16. Jack Cushing Hudkins

    International travelers who have been solicited for bribes to pass through security at international airports are free to comment by blog to emphasize the enormous amount of cash being made by international airport personnel who do not care about the U.S. or international terrorism.

    December 26, 2009 at 10:36 am |
  17. Sandy J Stafford

    I have traveled through Amsterdam on several occasions on the way to and from Niarobi on mission trips, and we have always found the security there to be very "casual". No problems with liquids ( water bottles, soft drinks and etc), no taking off of shoes and just "sort of" looking at liquids packed in carry-ons.
    It is a very busy airport and VERY multicultural and it would be terribly time consuming to check everyone and all their stuff as in Detroit and Cincinnati and JFK, but maybe it should to be done.

    December 26, 2009 at 10:47 am |
  18. Tashti

    why cant they invent the body scanner that was in the movie, I believe it was the Arnold Schwartzeneggar and Sharon Stone movie "Total Recall (futuristic), that scans your whole body down to the bones. You walk through it fully clothed.

    December 26, 2009 at 10:59 am |
  19. Michelle

    Haven't you all heard? There is no war on terrorism anymore. Terrorists were a figment of George Bush's and Tony Blair's imaginations. This president thought all that 9/11 and past terrorist stuff happened because we were so MEAN to the rest of the world....because we're so hated by the rest of the world. Why weren't we just "talking" to the bad guys. Why weren't we just following a "turn the cheek" policy. Didn't we know that electing such a nice guy as president would fix everything. That he'd charm them out of terrorism.

    So how's your "extend a hand, appease the enemy" policy working so far, Mr. President? At least the president is being forced to finally get a clue. Funny how he's starting to sound and act just like Bush more and more every day. So let's all repeat together for those of you who keep not getting it, "We are in the middle of a global war on Islamic Extremism."

    December 26, 2009 at 11:06 am |
  20. Kerry Gietzel

    I am watching your show. I just checked British Airways web site ( and they are posting new restrictions for flights to the USA. Specifically that only ONE hand carried item will be allowed,

    December 26, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  21. Chas

    Another proof that amateurs are running the White House and the rest of the government. Mrs. Clinton was right when she said there is no time for on the job training!

    December 26, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  22. Don

    Has anyone looked into the possibility that the explosives on this flight was put there for this individual by airport workers such as maintenance, cleaning or baggage people?

    December 26, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  23. Kerry Gietzel

    Just wanted to let you know that British Airways ( is posting additional restictions on carry-on baggage to the US from Gatwick and Heathrow. Only ONE item can be carried on board. See website.

    December 26, 2009 at 11:20 am |
  24. patricia gratz

    We are traveling from DTW to RSW within the next few days with twin infants. How will recent terroist incident affect traveling with formula the babies need while flying?

    December 26, 2009 at 11:20 am |
  25. barbara

    We are flying RT from JFK to Athens, Greece next week and now I am so scared I don't want to go. Help! Thoughts?

    December 26, 2009 at 11:23 am |
  26. becky

    Over Thanksgiving, the TSA in Houston allowed a young white couple to go through security with 2 foil wrapped pumpkin pies. How could they possibly justify that? Would they have allowed a muslim couple to do the same?

    December 26, 2009 at 11:23 am |
  27. Lilarose in Bandon, OR

    Josh, one of the best bargains around is to ship things ahead instead of puttting them on a plane. This won't work for your business person who travels alot, but when I travel it is often for a month or so to go visit "Aunt Minnie." I pack my shoes in boxes I purchase from the US postal service (they are extremely sturdy) and then stuff lots of stuff in and around the shoes. You can mail it several ways (priority, for example) and some postal boxes are based on weight (cram all you can into them for one price). Then I mail them to my destination and they are waiting for me there. Coming home, I repack the same boxes, often with things I have purchased at the destination, and send it back home. The cost is minimal compared to what we have to pay for additional luggage. Post office should advertise this, they need the income!

    December 26, 2009 at 11:24 am |
  28. Michelle

    Why is the focus on the "passengers" and the way they pack to travel instead of how the device and the suspect got past security and screening? Let's deal with the real issue and not dance around the problem.

    December 26, 2009 at 11:25 am |
  29. aj

    I found out about the snowglobes firsthand. My daughter had one confiscated at EWR, The screener wouldn't give an explanation except to say they are not allowed. I didn't see anything on the website for snowglobes. When we got to Ft.Meyers(rsw) the screener there explaiined to me that they weren't allowed and also why unlike the lowlife screeners they have at Newark.

    December 26, 2009 at 11:26 am |
  30. John M.

    Let's take a deep breath, CNN! I get the impression that we are making much ado about something without having all of the facts. It is irresponsible to get hysterical over the attempted terror incident with conjecture and speculation. You're implying that somehow the government is not working as hard as it has in the past to identify the materials used in this most recent attempt. I would rather be correct than fast. Let's quit this getting excited and rushing to judgment. Besides, I am not sure that banning anything else from airplanes this morning is going to make flights any safer than it we made such an announcement on Monday.

    December 26, 2009 at 11:26 am |
  31. TSA Employee

    As a current TSA employee I must say that I am very disappointed in CNN's managing of this story.

    I have been watching all morning and am tired of hearing CNN's "Security Experts" question TSA's effectiveness and compentency in this situation when TSA WAS NOT INVOLVED in this situation. The flight originated in Amsterdam where TSA obviously has no influence. Granted no one at CNN has directly said that TSA had anything to do with it, but it has been implied by more than one reporter this morning.

    The other thing I cannot understand is having CNN's "expert" question why TSA has not come out and told passengers what they can change to expedite the screening process today, and then THE VERY NEXT STORY is about the tips TSA has provided to expedite the process. Who's monitoring this stuff? Anyone?

    The bottom line here is I'm tired of TSA being portrayed in such a negaive light when this situation did not even involve the TSA to begin with and personally I would appreciate it if CNN's supposed experts would stop implying that we are all a bunch of incompentent baffoons.

    -TSA Officer

    December 26, 2009 at 11:28 am |
  32. Val

    One thing that caused me some delays getting through the metal detector was blue jeans with rivets. You can't take them off so don't wear them.

    December 26, 2009 at 11:28 am |
  33. Mary Karbowski

    I have a flight attendant for a daughter and I am appalled that everyone is so bothered by standing in lines for security and not being able to take certain items on board;

    My daughter has a right to go aboard airplanes and do her job without the fear of the plane being blown up;

    We Americans have to stop with the thoughts that we should be able to do anything we want.............
    Lets think about these flight crews for a change if you don't want to think about your own safety.

    Times have changed; please CNN and everyone else out there reporting on this story.............stop repeating how inconvenient it is going to be to fly...............better safe than sorry!

    December 26, 2009 at 11:31 am |
  34. k martin

    What is the difference between 3.4 oz (by volume) 100 ml, and the 3oz restriction– both mentioned. Many shampoo etc containers are labeled as 3.4 oz. 100 ml–are they allowed?

    December 26, 2009 at 12:17 pm |
  35. TSA Officer

    Very good advice for all travellers – Log onto http://www.TSA.Gov for up to the minute requirements. Josh, thanks for putting this out to the travelling public. Just a few comments about your spot on CNN:
    1. We as TSA officers, do not "take" oversize d liquids from passengers carryon bags. Passengers are given several options for their liquids. They make the choice but must beaware that oversize liquids are not to go thru the security checkpoint.
    2. All TSA officers with the exception of private screeners are sworn Federal Officers, not screeners. Screening is a function not a position. We have a job to do as mandated by Congress and 99.9% of us do our jobs to the best of our abilities. The comment by "WHIT" above should also include a comment about common courtesy from the passengers we are sworn to "PROTECT" – it goes along way in making the process more plesant for all involved.
    I am just so thankful that the passengers responded in they way they did. I don't think any passenger will ever willingly submit or go thru an attempted highjaking or terrorist threat again.
    Thank you for allowing me to put in my $0.02!

    December 26, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  36. L B

    Why has no one commented on a simple easy fix, BAN ALL CARRY ON LUGGAGE. This would eliminate the long lines and waits at security checkpoints. If one has a need for medication or other special needs they would be required to pass through a special check point separate from other passengers.

    December 26, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  37. Dan from Santa Barbara, Ca

    After this incident, are we really worried about speeding up airport security? I trust most people will understand if security officials take their time.

    December 26, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  38. Jacqueline

    The TSA won't allow "snowglobes" through security, but obviously WILL allow explosives attached to a man's body. TSA needs help.

    December 26, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  39. TSO

    Thank you for showing the people what they can do. Its day in day out abuse we further thing you might want to look into...the Airlines want to force the people through...when they do that we DONOT have enough officers. Thanks again!

    December 26, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  40. JLM

    I have a Medtronic titanium implant in my abdomen about the size of the palm of my hannd. It has Dilaudid (a liquid narcotic) in it to help reduce my back pain. I have not flown in a plane since 9/11. I am planning to visit my daughter in Germany this spring. What will happen when I go through airport security?

    December 26, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  41. Ray Garzone

    A female friend had her breats removed and now wears a liquid filled bra – will she have to take it off and put on the tray along with her cell phone, watch, and makeup? I think as this seems to escalate, all the degenerates will want to work the x-ray machines at the TSA! So much for freedom!

    December 26, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  42. Ray Garzone

    A dear friend of mine gave me the perfect solution – let only Athiests board planes, as religion seems to warp the human mind.

    December 26, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  43. Holly

    If you are on a "No Fly List" and/or are "Suspected Terriorist" why do you still have a passport and why are you issued a boarding pass??

    All the discussion seems to surround how to inconvience the honest passenger. Don't misunderstand me, but millions of honest, innocent people travel each day without incident what more can we do to accomodate the TSA that we are not currently doing?



    December 26, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  44. A. Smith, Oregon

    There is a troubling development on this 'story'. Governments knew since Oct.09 that Muslims had urged fellow Muslims to use butt-bombs to bring down airliners.

    However, the butt-bomber got a pass thru Amsterdam's heavy security? It seems the purpose is not to ferret out faithful Muslims, but rather get the American populace acclimated to living in a police state where complete submission and full body cavity searches will be required.

    How do you feel about airplanes now being fitted with closed circuit cameras in the bathrooms to see if any Muslims are mixing up explosives in the bathroom?

    East Berlin security forces would be green with envy over what Bush-Cheney has done to America and Americans should be up in arms over their steady loss of freedoms and privacy.

    It is medically unethical to Xray or Fluro-Scope children and young woman for no medical purpose, and yet TSA is now expanding it's full body scanning machines to run everyone thru like cattle.

    It is a extremely likely the new TSA full body scanners also take a facial recognition photo of you which is sent to numerous databases around the world, far beyond TSA and even to the databases used by Casino's to track your future activity's.

    December 26, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  45. Cheri in Wisconsin

    We flew from Chicago through London and on to Warsaw right after the incident regarding terrorists " taking down about 13 planes over the Atlantic" in 2006. After that event I read the BA website several times a day to learn what their new restrictions would be. Saved us a lot of time – people were pulled out of line in front of us and behind us. Only one carry-on – NO additional purse/handbag for the ladies, no outer clothing....left room in my carry-on to stuff my jean jacket when it came time to go through security. Size of your one carry-on mattered – big time. My husband couldn't believe how easily we sailed through – due only to my research. Educate yourself people! Restrictions were DIFFERENT for people flying THROUGH London vs. ending their flight.....Read everything!

    TO BARBARA – go! Have a good time!

    December 26, 2009 at 8:00 pm |
  46. Alan

    How many carry-on's are allowed on a plane on a US flight flying in the continental US? Please be clear on the number of items. Thank you.

    December 27, 2009 at 8:42 am |
  47. aj

    I thnk if the TSA would look to hire some of the more-than- qualified unemployed (like me) to work the security screenings at our airports. The screening process would be a more efficient and thorough process. The majorty of our airports security seems to be run by people there to "collect a paycheck" than they are do what they wre trained to do.

    December 29, 2009 at 3:41 pm |