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« Spring Break Cancellations: Can You Get Your Money Back? | Main | GM Recalls 1.2M SUVs; Honda Recalls 900K Minivans »

Spring Break Travel: Know Your Rights at the Airport

Spring breakers dealing with air travel will want to know their rights at the airport.

Whether it's going through airport security or knowing how to deal with airlines if your flight is delayed or cancelled, travelers should be aware of the limitations of the law.

So here's what you should know regarding your rights at the airport:

Airport Security

Before you can hop on a plane, you need to go through a TSA security check. Most airports still utilize body scanners or walk-through metal detectors. Although controversial, TSA body scanners are lawful, but if you're uncomfortable with the process, you can opt for a pat-down instead.

According to the TSA, pat downs are performed by an officer of the same gender. Passengers can request a private screening at any time, but it should be offered if a TSA agent must pat down a sensitive area.

If you have any sensitive areas or have difficulty raising your arms or remaining in the requested position, you should inform the officer. Finally, passengers shouldn't be asked to remove or lift up clothing to reveal any sensitive body parts during the pat down.

If you feel a pat-down has gone too far, there is a procedure in place for complaints.

Permitted Items

While travelers are still limited to the "3-1-1" liquids rule for carry-ons, the TSA has relaxed some of its other carry-on policies to allow previously banned items onto planes. Some of the items now allowed to be carried on include:

  • Small pocket knives with non-locking blades that measure 2.36 inches (6 centimeters) or less,
  • Golf clubs,
  • Small novelty bats and toy bats,
  • Ski poles,
  • Lacrosse sticks,
  • Hockey sticks, and
  • Billiard cues.

Items like razor blades and box cutters are still prohibited. However, you can still place many prohibited carry-on items in your checked baggage. (If you're only traveling with carry-ons, then you might want to consider mailing some items to your final destination or give it a friend who drops you off at the airport.)

Knowing your rights at the airport will help make Spring Break travel more relaxing, and you won't have to worry as much about making it through airport security.

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