Tips for getting your marching band through airport securityTodd Overbeck
During your marching band trip, you will make an impression on lots of people – parents, judges, school administrators, teachers, competitors, and more. You always want your first impression to be great! A very important time to make that great impression is when you go through an airport security checkpoint. Here are some tips for getting your marching band through airport security smoothly and efficiently. Start by leaving your school’s skunk mascot at home!
- Be polite and attentive…and cut the shenanigans. Don’t joke about national security or bombs, and be attentive to security people as they give instructions. Don’t give security personnel a hard time. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screens more than 2,000,000 people daily, and it’s not an easy job. Make sure your students represent your school in a mature and responsible way, by paying close attention to security authorities, your group’s Director, the Music Travel Tour Director, chaperones, and parents.
- Upon entering the security checkpoint line, it is good practice to have your boarding pass and ID in hand and ready to present.
- Put your jewelry, belts, loose change, phones, tablets and sunglasses in your carry-on bag. A laptop computer must be visible in its own security check tub. You can re-accessorize later at your gate, instead of in front of hundreds of strangers in the security line you just passed through.
- Musical instruments will undergo screening when in carry-on or in checked bags. Those instruments carried on a plane require a physical inspection at the security checkpoint. Inform the TSA officer if your instrument requires special care and handling. Before going to the airport, check with Music Travel and/or with your airline to determine carry-on and checked baggage sizes and restrictions. Whereas larger instruments are generally transported as checked baggage, some carriers allow clarinets, flutes, smaller saxophones, trombones, trumpets, violins and violas to travel in the cabin inside their cases. If sending an instrument as checked luggage, make sure it is packed and padded six ways from Wednesday, and immovable within its case, to avoid crumpled bells and other instrument damage. Some airlines let you purchase a ticket for a valuable musical instrument, so that it may be taken into the cabin of the aircraft and strapped into its own seat.
- When flying, don’t wear clothing that is complicated and difficult to take off/put on. Wearing clothing with offensive messages or pictures could even get you kicked off a plane, so just play it safe. Slip-on shoes or loafers are easier than lace-ups if you have to remove them at the security checkpoint. Although some people don’t like to wear socks, you are encouraged to do so. If you must take off your shoes to go through security, you may be much more comfortable with socks on your feet. The last thing you need is feet issues, especially if you are marching in a parade. And, if you are going on a long flight, you might want to invest in some compression socks. What are those? Check out our great article here.
- Liquids and gels must be inside three ounce or smaller transparent containers, which fit into a clear 1-quart ziplock or closable plastic bag. You can fill the small containers with products from your vanity at home – shampoo, conditioner, make-up and such. Label your small containers to keep products easy to spot (or don’t, and surprise yourself with a shampoo guessing game later). Put the bag in a convenient place in/on your carry-on so you can take it out and put it in your security check tub at the security checkpoint.
- Dial back on the electronics. The more electronics you have, the longer it will take you to get through security. TSA requires passengers to display laptops in a security tub, and whereas tablets, phones and video cameras can usually be placed in carry-on bags, sometimes you may be asked to produce them for inspection. Stick anything you won’t need during the flight in your checked baggage, including electronics, except for lithium batteries, which must be in your carry-on bag.
You can find informative videos and more tips at tsa.gov. Safe travels!
Contact Music Travel Consultants to start planning your trip.