The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint can make or break any trip. With long lines, fastidious agents, specific and ever-changing requirements, it’s easy for even the most frequent corporate or leisure travelers to feel overwhelmed and underprepared. Do your shoes come off? Does your laptop need to be out of its bag? How much liquid can you carry with you? BlueOrange, an NYC-based travel agent, has these answers and the very best up-to-date information and stipulations for the nation’s airport security requirements. Read on to save yourself time and stress the next time you travel for work or pleasure.

A NYC Corporate Travel Agent’s Secrets to TSA Security

Enroll in TSA Pre-Check

For executives and small business owners who travel frequently for work, enrolling in the TSA’s pre-check is well worth the investment. For $85, travelers are allowed to move through the security line without removing their shoes, laptops, liquids, belts or light jackets. Typically, the wait at this line is less than five minutes and the approval applies to 200 airports across the nation for five years. You can apply quickly online at by filling out an application and submitting to an in-person background check.

Know the 3-1-1 Rule

TSA allows travelers to carry a small amount of liquid with them on any flight. The 3-1-1 rule means that each individual passenger may have containers that are 3.4 ounces and smaller in a single, one-quart, clear, plastic bag. At the checkpoint, this bag should be removed from your carry-on and placed in the bin. Larger quantities of liquids are best left in your checked bags. Creams, gels and lotions are all considered liquids. If bringing your favorite bottle of sunscreen is the only reason to check a bag, then you might consider purchasing what you need when you arrive.

Infant formula, breast milk and juice for children are exceptions and are allowed in “reasonable quantities.” Plus, medically necessary water or other liquid that is considered nutritionally essential is allowed as are the liquids and gels used to cool these medical items. But remember that everything must be scanned, so it is best to let a TSA agent know your circumstances in advance.

Know What to Leave at Home

Certain items are always forbidden. Avoid traveling with fireworks or sparklers in your checked or carry-on baggage. Knives and blades of any kind (even your corkscrew) are best checked. If you need to carry a firearm when you travel, make certain it is packed in your checked bags, and let the desk agent know when you check your luggage. Having firearms at the security check, even if you forgot you had it, is grounds for arrest.

Know the Procedure

Consider dressing in shoes and accessories that are easy to remove when you fly, and leave your bulky jewelry and belts in your checked bag. Have your identification and boarding pass ready to show the TSA agent when you reach the front of the line. Any electronic device larger than your phone will need to be placed in its own plastic bin for screening. Your shoes, if you are under 75 years old, and bulky coat must be removed, placed in a plastic bin and screened with your carry-on bag.

Know How You Will Be Screened

At most airports, passengers are screened with imaging technology. Travelers walk through closet-sized machines where they pause to be scanned. This process eliminates a physical screening from a TSA agent and can detect metallic and non-metallic threats. Passengers can sometimes decline this method of screening in favor of a conventional physical exam. Pat-down screenings are always performed by the same-gender TSA agent.

Take your time, and if you have questions, ask a nearby TSA agent. Always be aware of your surroundings so you can be sure that you get all your belongings after you have passed through security. With advanced planning, you can be sure you’ll make it through security without hassle and reach your destination easily.

Contact BlueOrange, an NYC-based corporate travel agent, to start planning your next business trip or personal getaway. A part of the Tzell network, we are able to offer a unique and luxury-focused approach to travel.