Frequently Asked Air Travel Questions

What are the size restrictions for carry-on bags?

Size dimensions of carry-on baggage allowed in the cabin of the aircraft vary by airline. Contact your airline to ensure what can fit in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you.

What is the policy on powders? Are they allowed?

How early should I arrive to the airport prior to my flights departure?

You are encouraged to contact your airline as times may vary depending on the airport and date of travel. In general, please allow time for parking/shuttle transportation, airline check-in, obtaining a boarding pass and going through the security screening process, which includes screening of your carry-on bag.

You may check how busy the airport is likely to be on your specific day and time of travel based on historical data by downloading the MyTSA app.

If you are traveling from an international last-point-of-departure to the U.S., powder-based substances in carry-on baggage greater than 350mL or 12 oz. may require additional screening at the central checkpoint. Powder-like substances over 12 oz. or 350mL in carry-on that cannot be resolved at the central checkpoint will not be allowed onto the cabin of the aircraft and will be disposed of.

For your convenience, place powders in your checked bag.

The measures have already been implemented at U.S. airports nationwide to identify and prevent potentially dangerous items from being brought aboard the aircraft. There are no changes to what is allowed in carry-on baggage at U.S. airport checkpoints.

Can I take my pet through the security checkpoint?

Please remove your pet from the carrying case and place the case through the X-ray machine. You should maintain control of your pet with a leash and remember to remove the leash when carrying your pet through the metal detector. Animal carriers will undergo a visual and/or physical inspection.

Contact the airline to determine your airline's policy on traveling with pets before arriving at the airport.

Can I film and take photos at a security checkpoint?

TSA does not prohibit photographing, videotaping or filming at security checkpoints, as long as the screening process is not interfered with or sensitive information is not revealed.

Interference with screening includes but is not limited to holding a recording device up to the face of a TSA officer so that the officer is unable to see or move, refusing to assume the proper stance during screening, blocking the movement of others through the checkpoint or refusing to submit a recording device for screening.

Additionally, you may not film or take pictures of equipment monitors that are shielded from public view.

I forgot my identification; can I still proceed through security screening?

In the event you arrive at the airport without proper ID, because it is lost or at home, you may still be allowed to fly. By providing additional information, TSA has other ways to confirm your identity, like using publicly available databases, so you can reach your flight.

If your identity cannot be verified, you will not be allowed to enter the screening checkpoint.

May I keep head coverings and other religious, cultural or ceremonial items on during screening?

Persons wearing head coverings, loose fitting or bulky garments may undergo additional security screening, which may include a pat-down. A pat-down will be conducted by a TSA officer of the same gender. If an alarm cannot be resolved through a pat-down, you may ask to remove the head covering in a private screening area.

Religious knives, swords and other objects are not permitted through the security checkpoint and must be packed in checked baggage.

Inform the TSA officer if you have religious, cultural or ceremonial items that require special handling.

Should I remove my body piercing?

Certain metal body piercings may cause the machines to alarm and a pat-down may be required. If additional screening is required, you may be asked to remove your body piercing in private as an alternative to the pat-down.

What steps are taken to screen musical instruments?

Musical instruments must undergo screening when transported as carry-on or in checked baggage. Musical instruments transported as carry-on require a physical inspection at the security checkpoint. Inform the TSA officer if your instrument requires special care and handling. You may pack brass instruments in your checked or carry-on baggage.

Check with your airline prior to your flight to ensure your instrument meets the aircraft size requirements.

Will children receive a pat-down screening?

TSA officers will consult parents or the traveling guardian about the best way to relieve any concerns during the screening of a child and to resolve any alarms during screening. TSA has modified screening procedures for children 12 and under that reduce the likelihood of pat-down screening.

For travelers 13 years and older, TSAís standard screening procedures apply.

What are the screening procedures for transgender persons?

Transgender persons will be screened as he or she presents at the security checkpoint. The advanced imaging technology used to screen passengers has software that looks at the anatomy of men and women differently. If there is an alarm, TSA officers are trained to clear the alarm, not the individual.

This process ensures every individual is screened effectively according to procedures prior to entering the secured area of an airport. You may request private screening or to speak with a supervisor at any time during the screening process

TSA recognizes the concerns that some members of the transgender/non binary/gender nonconforming traveling public have with screening technology and certain security screening procedures at the nationís security checkpoints. TSA is committed to ensuring all travelers are treated with respect and dignity. Screening is conducted without regard to a person's race, color, sex, gender, gender identity, national origin, religion, or disability.