Now, this is a big question because TSA approved has so many legs. Like when I say what does TSA approved mean, am I talking about precheck or carry on luggage or checked luggage? Or am I talking about the U.S Government?
In this article, I want to touch on each one of these and any other items that fall under the TSA approved umbrella. So let’s start with a clear understanding of what the TSA approved government entity is.
What Does TSA Approved Mean As A Definition?
TSA (Transportation Security Administration) is an entity of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security established to ensure the safety of the transportation systems within, in this case, the airport, as well as connecting flights to the United States of America.
What does TSA Approved Mean in Regards To TSA Security’s Function?
The TSA has developed comprehensive policies to protect the United States transportation systems, which include highways, railways, buses, mass transit systems, ports, pipelines, and intermodal freight facilities. Their main concern is protecting air traffic from terrorist attacks. They employ screeners at more than 450 United States security airport checkpoints, who use x‑ray machines, explosive detection dog teams, and bomb technicians to identify weapons and bombs.
A Bit Of TSA History Regarding What Does TSA Approved Mean
The u.s. government formed the TSA due to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which revealed weaknesses in current airport screening procedures.
Congress authorized the formation of the TSA in the Aviation and Transportation Security Act, which President George W. Busch signed. Originally the agency was under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Transportation. In 2003 the Department of Homeland Security began, and TSA became a part of the new agency.
Today the Security Administrator for Transportation has approximately 60,000 employees who protect the United States transportation system.
Now with this information under our belt, what does TSA approved mean in regards to security checkpoints at the airports?
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What Does TSA Approved Mean For Security Screening At Airports?
When we fly, most of us focus on our luggage and destination. We don’t see what TSA personnel are doing unless they stop our bags and inspect them. The TSA personnel are constantly working with law enforcement and intelligence to make any changes in their process. These adjustments may come from new information unknown to the general public and may require additional measures to ensure your safety.
With this said, there are 3 ways to navigate TSA. In other words, 3 basic things will put meaning to the term TSA approved.
- Checked luggage screening
- Carry on luggage screening
- TSA PreCheck
Let’s get a clear picture of each one of these.
TSA Approved Checked Luggage Screening
When you enter the airport with your luggage, you first get your tickets and check your bags that will go into the cargo hold. At this point, your checked bags will need to be TSA approved, which simply means security will screen them for items that are not allowed. Things like vapes and lithium-ion batteries.
After you drop your bags off, TSA agents will screen them with an x-ray machine that scans a full pallet at one time. If they find something suspicious that may hinder the safety of all passengers; they will physically inspect your baggage.
However, if this happens, they must leave a paper in your bag that states they opened it and inspected the internal belongings.
With this information, I will briefly touch on TSA approved locks. If you have a lock on your luggage that meets TSA approval, the security personnel will have a universal key to open it. If your lock does not meet TSA approval, they will need to cut it off. Note to self, always use a lock that meets TSA approval.
TSA Approved Carry On Luggage Screening
After you drop off your bags, you move onto the security checkpoint, where they will screen your carry on and personal bags. Your bags must meet TSA approval to pass through airport security. Now, this doesn’t mean the bag has to be a TSA approved bag, but the contents need to meet the guidelines for TSA approval.
These guidelines are things like the 3-1-1 rule, and they may require you to take your electronics out of the bag and place them in a basket to go through the scanners.
When your bags go through the scanner and do not meet TSA approval, the security TSA personnel will manually inspect them. You will be present for this inspection.
Then you will need to go through an x-ray machine to meet TSA approval. Everyone goes through the same safe scanner, even if you are a TSA precheck. However, those with artificial joints or pins and nails in their body will use a different scanner specially made for body replacement parts.
What Does TSA Approved Mean For A Person Who Is TSA Precheck?
A person who has TSA PreCheck clearance has some perks, like a shorter line to go through. Not to mention you don’t have to take your shoes off or belts or jackets and sweaters and you can leave electronic equipment in their bags. With this said, I am TSA PreCheck, and at times I still have to do all of these things depending on which airport I go through.
You are probably wondering why TSA PreCheck gets special treatment. Well, to become TSA PreCheck, you fill out your life story, and they do a background check on you. In other words, you go through rigorous checks to prove you are a safe travler.
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What Does TSA Approved Mean – Conclusion
So you see, what does TSA approved mean does not have a simple answer. The Transportation Security Agency has so many responsibilities and has set forth numerous rules and regulations for all parts of travel. These requirements are in place for the safety of all who fly.
Happy travels, my friends.