Welcome to the "The Smart Traveler", your February, newsletter with tips and information to help make your traveling smoother.
Prepare For Takeoff -Part 1
There are preparations you can make before you arrive at the
airport to help you move more quickly and efficiently through the
new security processes.
Dress the Part
Be aware that any metal detected at the checkpoint must be
identified. If you set off the alarm, you will be required to
undergo additional screening, including a hand-wanding and a
pat-down inspection that includes the torso.
You can remove metal
items at the security checkpoint and place them in the plastic bags
offered at several airports or in the bins provided. The bins will
be sent through the X-ray machine. You can save time by not wearing
metal items or by placing them in your carry-on baggage before
getting in line.
TSA Shoe Screening Policy
You are not required to remove your shoes before
you enter the walk-through metal detector.
HOWEVER, TSA screeners may encourage you to
remove them before entering the metal detector as many types of
footwear will require additional screening even if the metal
detector DOES NOT alarm.
Screeners will encourage you to remove the following footwear
that is likely to require additional screening:
- Platform shoes (including platform flip-flops)
- Footwear with a thick sole or heel (including athletic shoes)
- Footwear containing metal (including many dress shoes)
Footwear that screeners are less likely to suggest you remove
- "Beach" flip-flops
- Thin-soled sandals (without metal)
- Avoid wearing clothing, jewelry or other accessories that
contain metal when traveling through the security checkpoints:
- Heavy Jewelry (including pins, necklaces, bracelets, rings,
watches, earrings, body piercings, cuff links, lanyards or bolo
- Clothing with metal buttons, snaps or studs
- Metal hair barrettes or other hair decoration
- Belt buckles
- Under-wire bras
- Hidden items such as body piercings may result in your being
directed to additional screening for a pat-down inspection. If
selected for additional screening, you may ask to remove your body
piercing in private as an alternative to the pat-down search.
- Take metal items such as keys, loose change, mobile phones,
pagers, and personal data assistants (PDAs) out of your pockets.
- Place heavy jewelry and other metal items in your carry-on
baggage or in plastic bags if they are offered, until you clear
- Pack all your coats and jackets in your baggage when
possible.All coats and jackets must go through the X-ray machine
for inspection. These include, but are not limited to, trench
coats, heavy winter coats, suit jackets, sport coats and blazers.
If you choose to wear an outer coat or jacket to the checkpoint,
you will need to either place it in your carry-on or put it in the
bin that is provided for you.
Next month Part 2 will be "Pack Smart"
Department of State to Begin Issuance of an Electronic Passport
The Department of State is developing an
Electronic Passport that will enhance document and border security,
while facilitating international travel for U.S. citizens.
Electronic Passport will integrate the latest concepts in electronic
document protection and readability. The Department plans to issue
the first full validity U.S. electronic passports. By October 2006, all domestic
passport agencies will issue electronic passports.
The new passport will combine facial recognition and contactless
chip technology. The chip, which will be embedded in the cover of
the passport, will hold exactly the same information that is printed
in the passport: name, date of birth, gender, place of birth, dates
of passport issuance and expiration, passport number, and photo
image of the bearer. A digital signature will protect the stored
data from alteration and mitigate the threat of photo substitution.
To address concerns that the chips may be susceptible to
unauthorized reading (skimming in the industry parlance), the
Department will incorporate anti-skimming technology in the front
cover. The Department is also seriously considering incorporating
basic access control (BAC) technology in the new passport. BAC
prevents the chip from being accessed until the passport is opened
and its machine-readable zone on the data page is read
electronically. The anti-skimming feature and BAC, when taken
together, will prevent unauthorized reading of the Electronic
The Department will provide more information on its website at
Hotel Card-Keys Edge Toward Extinction
The magnetic hotel-room key, one of the lodging industry's
most popular but controversial creations, is losing some of its
the American Hotel and Lodging Association, 83 percent of hotels
have electronic locks, and a majority of these use magnet swipe-card
technology. No one expects these systems to vanish overnight. For
one thing, they are cheap--plastic keys cost about 10 cents each.
They are also a snap to use - just swipe the card through the reader
and you are in your room. And they are without question more
efficient than the old-fashioned, easy-to-lose metal keys.
But they also
have a bad reputation among some business travelers. For several
years, rumors have circulated on the Internet about privacy concerns
with magnetic cards. The rumors appeared to originate in 1999, when
the police department in Pasadena, Calif., investigated a claim that
personal information had been extracted from a hotel key card.
Officials ultimately concluded that private data was not being
downloaded onto the cards.
hotel business is quietly looking for alternatives to make sure the
fears don't spread. For example, the
new tower at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas uses
fingerprint scanners instead of plastic keys. A few years
ago, the Hilton New York Towers, one of the first properties to
switch to magnetic-stripe keys back in 1985, installed new "smart
cards," which hold far more information but are more difficult to
hack into. Of course, they are also more expensive.
also considering another key system that uses proximity cards,
according to Greg Patyk, a national sales manager for Access
Technologies International, a Milwaukee manufacturer of security
locks. The systems, which are used mostly by corporations today,
open a lock when a guest approaches. "There is no strip that needs
to be read," he said, so it is also harder to penetrate than a
magnetic stripe cards disappear quickly or fade over time, there are
several precautions that travelers might consider. Treat a
magnetized room card as if it were a car or house key. Protect it as
if it were a credit card. And either return it to the front desk
when checking out, or dispose of it as one would any other form of
plastic payment: Use scissors to cut it into bits and throw it away.
Travel Safe-Travel Smart
open your hotel door to a stranger without first calling the front
desk to see whether hotel management has sent someone to your room.
Use your business
address (or business card) in your luggage tags to avoid revealing
your home address and phone number.
Tape a card with
your name and address inside every piece of luggage in case the
bag is lost and the outside tags get lost.
photocopies of every important document you'll be carrying --
tickets, driver's license, proof of auto insurance, passport,
vaccination certificates, and so on. Carry one copy with you (not
with the originals) and give one copy to a friend at home. These
copies may be lifesavers if you lose the originals.
Carry a list of
toll-free phone numbers for all of your credit and bank cards in
case you have to cancel them (if they're lost or stolen) or if you
need to find an ATM to use them at.
Remove old airline
destination tags; they're the main reason bags get lost.
As soon as you get
to your hotel room, look for a map of fire escape routes. Be sure
to check that the routes are marked correctly and are accessible.
weather, never leave an animal or a child in a parked car -- even
with the windows open.
If you can find
someone to reliably pick up your mail and newspapers while you are
traveling, there is less chance that strangers will know no one is
home. Another option is to have delivery temporarily stopped; the
Post Office can hold mail, and the price of undelivered newspapers
is often credited toward future deliveries.
When driving in
unfamiliar locales, always park in well-lighted areas.