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Airport Security - Part 2

Airport Security - Part 2


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Airport Security 2 – TSA Checkpoint rules



Hello! In this lesson, we will learn the English associated with going through the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security checkpoint. In previous lessons, we have learned the English associated with checking in at the airline and having our luggage checked in and X-rayed.

After your checked luggage is X-rayed, you will go to the TSA security checkpoint with your carry-on luggage and carry-on items such as a small purse, books, newspaper, small pillow, or blanket. The TSA agents at the security checkpoint will examine you and the items you intend to take on board the airplane. In order to pass through the checkpoint, you must prepare beforehand, as your carry-on will be X-rayed and possibly examined by hand. You will walk through a metal detector, and if you are carrying too much metal, you will have to remove your belt, take items out of your pockets, and possibly be patted down by a security agent.

For a short trip you may carry on 1 quart-size (one liter) clear plastic, zip-top bag holding 3-ounce (100 ml) or smaller containers of liquids or gels. Each traveler may take only one quart-sized bag.

Medications and breast milk/baby formula are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding 3 ounces and are not required to be in a zip-top bag. You must tell a security officer at the checkpoint of you have any of these items.

You will have to remove all footwear except socks for x-ray screening. So you should wear shoes that you can take off and put on easily.

Be sure to pack valuables such as jewelry, cash and electronics, as well as fragile items, in your carry-on.

It is important to avoid wearing many accessories that contain metal, which will set off the metal detector.

Put your undeveloped film in your carryon bag. Checked baggage screening equipment may damage film, but the screening procedures at the checkpoint will not harm it.

If you are carrying a firearm or other weapon, please check with your airline before you get to the checkpoint for appropriate procedures.

When you arrive at the checkpoint, you will need to present your boarding pass and your identification to the first security agent at a desk or counter.

Keep your ID and boarding pass in your hand throughout the checkpoint screening. The agent will say "ID?" or "Can I see your identification please?" and "Boarding pass?" or "Show me your boarding pass please.".

The agent might ask you "Where are you going?". Then you would say "I am going to ______.". The agent might ask "Business or leisure?". Then you will need to tell why you are going to this destination. For example, David might answer "I'm going to visit my aunt in Chicago.". Jennifer might answer "I'm going to my company headquarters in New York City.". A student might say "I'm going to study computer technology at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.".

Sometimes the agent might ask "How long are you staying?". David might answer "Three days.". "Jennifer might say "Ten days.". The student might answer "Six months.".

If you have more liquids than the generally-allowed 3-ounce bottle, you should tell this agent. You can say "I have milk for my baby." or "I have juice because I am diabetic." or "I have a prescription from my doctor for this liquid."

The agent may ask you to show the liquid by saying "Show me the liquid." or "Let me see the liquid.". The agent might say "Tell the agent in the line.". The agent might ask "Why do you need this?". You can say "My baby needs it." or "I have diabetes.". The agent might ask "What is this?" You might answer "It is milk." or "It is orange juice." or "It is medicine.".

It is very smart to have a doctor's official prescription written in English for any liquids you need for your health attached to the container of liquid. At the checkpoint, you might point to this prescription, and say "This is my doctor's prescription.".
Some people do not need to speak to this agent at all.

After you are finished showing your ID, you will see a stack of basins or bins and a moving belt which leads to an X-ray machine. You will see signs telling you what to do. There are pictures and words on the signs to help international travelers understand.

At this point, take your quart-sized (liter-sized) bag out of your carry-on and place it separately in one of the bins.

Tell one of the agents if you have permitted liquid exceptions.
You can say "I have milk for my baby." or "I have juice because I have diabetes." or "I have a large bottle of medicine.". You might point to the doctor's prescription and say "This is my doctor's prescription.". You might say "My baby needs to eat (at 2:00) during the flight.". Tell the time your baby expects to eat.

Take your laptop and video cameras with cassettes out of their cases for screening. If you forget, the agent might say "Laptop in the bin, please" or "Put your computer in the bin." or "All electronics go in the bin.". You can say "Thank you." or "Okay.".

Remove your footwear and outer coat, suit coat, jacket or blazer to place in the bin for X-ray. If you forget, the agent might say "Put your shoes in the bin, please." or "Take off your shoes and put them in the bin please.". The agents might say "Put your jacket in the bin, please.". Some women's jackets are attached to the inner clothing. If your jacket cannot come off without removing your entire blouse, you can say "It is attached.", or "It doesn't come off.". Be prepared to show the agent that your jacket is hooked to your inner clothing.

Place the following items in your carry on before entering the screening checkpoint: cell phones and personal data assistants, keys, loose change, jewelry, and large metal items. These will be x-rayed. X-rays will not damage these items.

At the same time your items are going through the x-ray, you will be asked to walk through a metal detector toward an agent who will wave you through to the next point by saying "Okay." or "Go ahead." or might okay you with a nod. Or if you set off the alarm by having too much metal on your person, the agent will say "Do you have a weapon?". If you have a weapon, you must hand it over to the agent. Even a small pocketknife constitutes a weapon. Check your pockets for coins or other metals that might have set off the alarm. Next to you, you will see some small dishes for your pocket items. Put your pocket items in the dish and send them through the X-ray machine. Then walk through the metal detector again. Do not argue with the TSA agent. Do not say that there is something wrong with the machine. It is important that you follow the agent's directions exactly and without argument. If you do not understand, say "I do not understand." or "I do not speak English." so the agent will understand why you are hesitating or why you are not doing as you are told.

If your clothing is made in a way that is unexpected by the agents, or if you set off the metal detector repeatedly, you might be asked to step to the side for a pat-down. If you are ever pulled aside for a physical pat-down, you have the right to ask for a private area, although it might take longer if you do. You can say "I would like to go to a private area." or "May I go to a more private area?" If you are a woman, you would be patted down by a woman. If you are a man, you would be patted down by a man. The pat-down would involve touching you outside your clothing all over your body, under your arms, between your legs, down your legs, around your head and neck. Most people are not patted down. Pat-downs are not expected to be physically invasive, and they are very quick. If you are asked to step aside for a physical pat-down, any arguing will only prolong this process. The agents expect pleasant cooperation with their requests. It is also comforting to remember that most people in line are not at all interested in watching you; everyone is in a hurry, and they are concerned with going through security too.

It is up to you to gather your items and repack your bag quickly after you have gone through the metal detector and your carry-ons have gone through the X-ray machine. Think beforehand about how to pack so that you can quickly repack and get your shoes on; there are many people in line, and you have to keep moving.

In the next lesson, we will follow Jennifer and David as they go through the TSA security check point.