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Airport Security

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Airport Security

I will be flying for the first time in about a week and I am a little about the whole process while going through the metal detectors with the TSA. I am wondering what you do with your cash that you bring with you and I'm mostly curious as to if the TSA goes through your purse when it goes through or if the just the scanner sees what's inside. As I said this is my first time flying so please be nice with your responses. Thank you :)

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for London
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56,326 posts
15 reviews
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1. Re: Airport Security

As far as coins go, I usually put mine in a small - 3 in square - clear plastic bag and put them in the bin to go through the scanner. I also put my camera, house keys, computer cord, mini computer light, phone and charger into a larger clear bag which again goes into the bin with my laptop.

Why? Because I'm tired of the 'what's all this then?' when a small handful of coins goes through the scanner in my handbag; the jumble of electronic goods has had the same 'we need to look at this closely' (for 30 minutes) response. When they're in a clear bag and obvioiusly just a selection of coins and some unexciting electronic accessories, it makes the whole process much easier.

The little folding money I take is tucked into my wallet, inside my handbag, which is zipped into my rollaboard bag for the trip through the scanner.

Unless your bags are chockablock full so the contents can't be viewed, Thousands Standing Around probably won't want to open any of them - but one never knows.

Do ensure you remove everything from your pockets before going through the scanner. You may or may not be told to hang on to your passport and boarding card when walking through the scanner, it's dependent on the airport and staff on the day.

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4,985 posts
50 reviews
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2. Re: Airport Security

I leave my coins in my wallet - and sometimes have a separate collection of "foreign" (usually British) coins in a mini-ziploc or another small purse. It has never been a problem.

I do believe - and from my experience it is true - that the people who look at the scan images know what they are looking for. 9 out of 10 times everything passes through OK and if there is an issue the staff are very good at explaining what they are doing and looking through your bags!

..and I always have my boarding card, and if relevant, my passport in my hand. Have never had a problem there either. Those are too precious to dump in a bin IMO.

Detroit, MI
Destination Expert
for Detroit, Travel Gadgets and Gear
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6,875 posts
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3. Re: Airport Security

Make sure any cash and valuables are buried inside zipper pockets, preferably locked, in your bags. TSA can inspect any bag they want, but they are supposed to ask your permission first. TSA and other passengers have been known to steal, so you want to make it somewhat difficult. The checkpoint is a busy and confusing place - it only takes a second for a thief to grab a wallet or a cell phone out of a bin.

The only thing that has to come out of the bag are dense electronics like laptops. Your liquid baggie is technically supposed to, but I have ignored their barking of orders for the last couple years and they have ignored my liquids tucked away in my carry on. The only things I put in a bin are my laptop and belt, possibly a coat if it is too bulky to cram in my carry on bag.

Yorktown, Virginia
Destination Expert
for Machu Picchu
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6,183 posts
15 reviews
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4. Re: Airport Security

In the US, we've also had to take off our shoes and put them in the bin. And any jacket, even lightweight fleece. Sometimes we have to take the liquids baggie out of carry-on bag, sometimes not. Depends on the airport & staff whims, I guess.

Destination Expert
for Israel
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37,535 posts
38 reviews
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5. Re: Airport Security

I keep my wallet and everything in it--in my pocket book. There is also a bag, similar to what African Daisy writes that has my foreign cash and coins. I wear a money belt with extra American cash. I have not had a problem.

When approaching security I send my items through in this order--a. locked carryon ( I have no liquids in it at all. Everything is in my checked luggage) b. coat and shoes, c. pocket book and d. laptop. I DO not let the carryon and my bins go through until I am ready to step through the metal detector. This way, by the time they are through--I am through too! They are not waiting on the other side for me.

London, United...
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27,178 posts
29 reviews
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6. Re: Airport Security

Just send your handbag/ purse through and leave everything in it apart from electronics like iPad or lap top and remove liquids.

They may search it, they may not, they may also scan for explosives. As my handbag is generally very messy, with a lot of coins and pens at the bottom, it gets searched most times ( I really should tidy it up lol). It's no big deal.

Takes five mins, they ask first, do their job and hand it back to you, usually, for me, with a funny comment about the mess inside.

Don't worry, they will tell you what to do, so you can't get it wrong, and just do as asked. I always try to maintain a sense of humour and let them do their job.

Sometimes it's not feasible though, I once had my luggage taken out ( i was travelling with hand luggage only and nothing was in the hold) and every item in my overnight case was individually scanned at Brussels, seemingly there was a small metal rod in my plastic hairbrush, which was the last thing they scanned, and it was very very busy at security.

I did lose my sense of humour when They had my underwear sitting individually on the conveyer belt for everyone to see, the same for every other item of clothing in my bag, they were all scanned one by one, but you just have to let them do what they need to do, no matter how ridiculous it appears.

That day it took them well over 40 mins to let me through, the woman operating the scanner was beyond adamant, even though the rest of the staff were as uncomfortable as i was, and the queue was held up substantially, with everyone staring at me and I found it very stressful as it was so bizarre, common sense would say if looking for a small metal rod shape, you scan the items that may contain it first, not the clothes and one by one. But that's what she wanted and that's what she did.

. However it's something I have never experienced before or since. Just do as asked, and you will be fine, and no matter how strange the request appears, just let them get on with it. Ultimately, it will be fine and you will soon be on your way.

Destination Expert
for Cambodia
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18,800 posts
81 reviews
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7. Re: Airport Security

I know you asked about metal detectors etc, but be aware at some airports they also do random swab type tests for explosives. If selected you will get 'wiped' down with a bit of paper in a wand-like holder which they then put into a machine - looking for traces of explosives. They may also wipe your bag.

The only time I have been questioned by scanner staff was when I came home from Germany with a box of glass xmas decorations - all very carefully wrapped - they asked what was in my bag and as soon as i said glass xmas ornaments - the lady smiled & waved me through without wanting to look any closer.

have a great trip

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17,163 posts
16 reviews
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8. Re: Airport Security

I just leave my cash in my purse/handbag but ensure it has entered the scanner before I actually walk through. Sometimes they have tried to wave me through before it goes in, in which case I just tell them I'm waiting for my things to enter the scanner before I do. That's never been a problem.

If I'm travelling with others, I put the bag with the money in the middle so that someone is on each side of the scanner to ensure it doesn't get taken.

I don't carry money in my pockets. In fact, I wear clothes that only have pockets in the jacket (which I take off and put through the scanner) so I don't have to worry about what's in my pockets.

I know you said metal detector, but I think with the body scanners they make you put your passport and boarding pass in the bins. Then I put them in my bag first.

I usually just put my watch in by itself since I forget about it a lot, but I'm starting to remember to put that in my bag too, although it's never actually set off a metal detector. I stopped wearing it through when TSA went to the new pat down thing in an attempt to avoid a pat down (which has worked so far).

Garden Bay, Canada
Destination Expert
for Air Travel, Business Travel
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9. Re: Airport Security

Just put everything, and I mean everything, from your pockets into an outside pocket on one of your carryons. Going through the nudiscope, they don't even want tissues in your pocket. Put the stuff back in your pocket once you are through.

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1,235 posts
1 review
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10. Re: Airport Security

Agree with GeoMedic. Plus I'll add attitude advice. Just imagine you're in kindergarten and do everything asked without complaint knowing that the TSA (ie teacher) has the power and control.