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Flying to the USA for your Gap Year – Latest Advice on Security Rules

Flying to the USA for your Gap Year – Latest Advice on Security Rules

Wednesday 14th September 2011

Make sure you know your airline security restrictions & rules before you pack

Following the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the USA it’s a timely opportunity to be reminded about the rules on what you can take onboard a flight, and what you can’t.

Many airlines have set their own rules for carry on luggage as well as checked in baggage, so it’s worth asking them direct, or checking their websites if you intend to travel to the USA on your gap year. The UK government and the Department for Transport also set new restrictions in November 2006 for anyone travelling from, to or via their airports, meaning that it now takes longer to get through security as the checks are much more rigorous.  It is important to understand these rules in advance of packing for your journey to avoid unnecessary delays.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that when you arrive in the USA that they’ll be making their own security checks on your luggage, hand luggage and on your person too, so make sure you check what’s in your pockets.  The size and type of baggage is screened as well as the different types of electronic items that you’re allowed to carry on, or check in, and they are screened separately. You are allowed essential medical supplies and equipment but you must have supporting documentation from your doctor. Large items such as pushchairs or musical instruments it is best to check beforehand with your airline on what’s allowed in the cabin.

One of the most confusing items to travel with in accordance with the new security rules is liquid. This is because many different substances are considered to be liquids by airline security, even if you don’t realise it yourself. For example gels, sprays, foam or toothpaste are everyday, common items that you would take with you on holiday and should be checked into the hold with your main luggage. If you need to take any liquids on board with you the containers that hold the liquids are restricted in size to 100ml, and must be carried in a single transparent re-sealable plastic bag.

The UK Government website also has a comprehensive list of dangerous and restricted items that you cannot take on board a plane in any circumstance.  More information can be found here.

Double-check for your specific destination before you go

If you’re flying to the USA on your gap year please remember to check directly with your airline first before you arrive at the airport as anything that is considered a security risk will be confiscated.