By Vanessa Sanchez

When I was based in Chicago O’Hare and sitting what is called Airport Standby (pretty much an on call on the spot flight attendant), my friend Captain Brian and I would buy coffees and then sit in front of the TSA security line and people watch.  This is by far, my favorite thing to do at an airport.  You would be surprised at what you’d see.  In a span of 4 hours, we saw a midget dressed like Santa Claus, a dance troupe dressed like they were going to Carnival in Rio, and a 50 year old woman in red pumps and a black sequenced mini skirt.  What I also noticed is the frustration that many passengers, TSA agents, and airline personnel go through due to ever changing policies and rules that we must abide by to reduce the threat of terror and safety.  So with that, I’m going to give you some helpful tips that may reduce the stress of travel for you….that is, until the Department of Homeland Security changes it again.

So you’re going on a summer vacation?  Don’t know what to pack, how to pack it, and what you can take through security?  Are you too poor or too cheap to check baggage now that airlines are charging astronomical fees for it?  Let’s talk baggage.  Like most Americans, no one wants to pay for more than they bargained for.  So you elect not to check a bag and decide to carry onboard instead.  Rules to follow:  Only one carry on and one personal item such as a briefcase, backpack, or purse are allowed per person.  Got kids?  Give them each a carry on and personal item too.  Kids are great mules when it comes to carrying extra crap for you.  Airlines are definitely cracking down on this rule too so make sure that you leave a little space in one of your bags for things bought inside security or for you purse that you managed to sneak through security.  United Airlines is really big on cracking down with this.  Friendly warning people!

Let’s talk liquids.  No, you can’t take the wine you bought at that cute winery through security.  They will confiscate it.  So the next best thing to do?  Mail those wonderful liquid souvenirs home.  Sure, you can put them in a checked bag but have you seen the way rampers handle them?  If you must put it in a checked bag, make sure to put it in a heavy duty box that’s unlocked and padded.  Ok.  Now for your toiletries.  You know that little announcement they make every five minutes in the airport?  Remember! 3-1-1?  Probably not because not only do you ignore signs leading you to baggage claim, you ignore announcements too.  TSA means it people.  3 oz liquid sized containers, only one per person, in a clear 1 quart sized plastic ziplocked bag.  TSA will be mean to you if you don’t follow this rule and they will yell at you and use you as an example if you try to sneak your Starbucks coffee and large hairspray through.  You know what’s really cool about WalMart and Target though?  You can now go to the travel section in Hair and Beauty and pick up prepackaged toiletries to fit your needs.  They have male and female ones!  Ladies, your mascara is a liquid.  Put it in the bag.

Now what to wear?  You want to dress comfortably for your trip and you want to ensure speedy and stress free passage through security?  Ladies, you look gorgeous in all that jewelry, but if it’s metal, you gotta take it off.  So go by this rule when traveling, less is more.  The best type of outfit that screams bombshell is a cute sundress for summer, leggings and a nice sweater for winter.  Flats or flip flops are best.  Easy to take off.  If you are a germ freak and don’t wanna walk around the airport barefoot, wear easy slip on and off sneakers.  Men, don’t wear crazy belts.  They will go off when you go through security and then you’ll be given a pat down.  Lace up boots are a no no unless you’re military and traveling in your uniform.  And remember!  Jackets need to come off!

So there you have it.  A few minor tips for your travel needs.  I hope this helps a little bit.  I am always open to questions and suggestions.  If you are planning a trip and need more info so you too can look and appear to be a savvy traveler, please don’t hesitate to contact your friendly neighborhood Skytress.  I’d be more than happy to help.  Safe and happy travels folks!

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Written by The Sundown United

The SUNDOWN UNITED is a multi-faceted project that houses an apparel and accessories brand, and online-magazine(weblogs/articles). All ends of and begins with the Sundown United our trademark, lifestyle, attitude, and personal perspective on Americana art/lifestyle subculture.

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