Airport security even without a baby in tow can be confusing and stressful, not to mention tedious. Here are a few tips to make the experience smoother.
Cutting the lines: TSA PreCheck & Global Entry
For several years now, TSA has created and encouraged travelers to enroll in “trusted traveler” programs. These programs allow you to use the (usually) shorter ‘TSA PreCheck’ lanes at security.
Along with the dedicated lane, PreCheck participants do not have to remove their shoes or light jackets, and use a metal detector instead of the backscatter x-ray machine. You also do not have to remove your laptop or approved liquids from your bag before putting them through the x-ray. All these things add up to a faster, less arduous, screening process.
You can qualify for PreCheck in a few ways:
You can apply for PreCheck with the TSA. There is an $85 fee for enrollment.
You can also receive PreCheck as an additional benefit of the Global Entry, NEXUS, and SENTRI programs. If you travel internationally, or between Mexico, the US, and Canada frequently, these programs may be a good option. Global Entry is the most comprehensive of these programs, but is also the one where you will need to pay a separate application fee for a child.
Bringing formula and milk through security
The general rule for liquids taken in your carry-on luggage is:
You are allowed to bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes in your carry-on bag and through the checkpoint. These are limited to travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item. Put these items in a small clear bag that should be removed from your bag for security screening.
Formula, breast milk and juice for infants or toddlers are permitted through the security checkpoint. Separate formula, breast milk and juice from other liquids, gels and aerosols limited to 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters.
Inform the TSA officer at the beginning of the screening process that you carry formula, breast milk and juice in your carry-on bag.
Formula, breast milk and juice in quantities greater than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters are allowed in carry-on baggage and do not need to fit within a quart-sized bag. Separate formula, breast milk and juice from other liquids, gels and aerosols for screening. You do not need to travel with your child to bring breast milk.
Ice packs, freezer packs, frozen gel packs and other accessories required to cool formula, breast milk and juice are allowed in carry-on. If these accessories are partially frozen or slushy, they are subject to the same screening as described above. You may also bring gel or liquid-filled teethers, canned, jarred and processed baby food in carry-on baggage. These items may be subject to additional screening.
For more information, see the TSA website.