How to Pack for Air Travel During a 'Red Alert' U.S. airports have changed the rules about what travelers are allowed to bring on planes, following news of an alleged terrorist plot targeting transatlantic flights from Britain to the United States.
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How to Pack for Air Travel During a 'Red Alert'

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How to Pack for Air Travel During a 'Red Alert'

How to Pack for Air Travel During a 'Red Alert'

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More now on travel and the complications people are going to face in airports in this country over the next few days. We're joined by Rudy Maxa, the savvy traveler. Rudy, welcome to DAY TO DAY.

RUDY MAXA reporting:

Nice to be with you, thank you.

CHADWICK: Here's a statement from Kip Hawley. He's the Assistant Secretary of the Transportation Security Administration, speaking today with advice for travelers at a press conference. Here he is.

Mr. KIP HAWLEY (Assistance Secretary, Transportation Security Administration): De-clutter your bag. If you let the TSOs have a clear view of what's in the bag with their X-ray, you'll move right on through. Leave the liquids at home, drink them, de-clutter your bag.

CHADWICK: Rudy, the TSOs are the guards at the X-ray machines searching your bags, and this term, de-clutter your bag, I don't think I'd heard that before.

MAXA: No, I've never heard that, either. I mean, what's interesting here is that in the United States, you can still take carry-on bags, but you can't have any liquids or gels in them, except for baby formula and medicines. And you know, you really don't think about how many liquids and gels you have when you travel, such common things as suntan lotion or toothpaste or make-up. So those are all going to have to go into your checked luggage.


Well, Rudy, we all have these horror stories of, you know, the exploding can of hair mousse in our checked luggage, so how do we prevent that from happening?

MAXA: I wouldn't put anything under pressure if I could avoid it. I put all mine in plastic bags, and you can find plastic bags in hotel rooms that offer laundry services, you can put them in baggies in checked luggage.

I don't know how long this is going to last, but in Europe, of course, and let's not get confused here - in Europe, you're not allowed to bring any electronic devices in your hand-held luggage, such a personal digital assistant or a cell phone or a lap-top computer, for that matter. That rule has not yet bee promulgated here in the States.

But I try to put all those things in one bag, so if they need to search electronic items, they can do it in one bag. I don't scatter them in two different carry-ons and a check-in bag. Now, the problem is if you're going overseas, of course, is consumer travel advisors such as I am have always said don't put electronic stuff in your check-in bag because it can get stolen or pilfered. So Europeans or those Americans going to Europe are going to have to deal with that issue of whether they trust putting electronic things in checked-on bags.

CHADWICK: You know, Rudy, I just wonder, thinking ahead for the next 48 hours, suddenly these new rules against carry-on liquids and things are imposed. What do you think it's going to be like getting through an airport in the next week or so?

MAXA: Well, as much as we think the media's blanketing the nation with this message, there's always a considerable number of people, whether they're airline passengers or not, who don't hear the news this morning or even maybe today. And so what you're going to have is a good number of people - I'm sure it's happening even as we're speaking - showing up at the X-ray machine checkpoint and TSA folks are saying, I'm sorry, what are you doing with a toothpaste? What are you doing with - and they're going, what do you mean what am I doing with toothpaste? What do you mean what am I doing with, you know, an extra bottle of water in my carry-on bag? And those folks are going to have to throw them away, right there, and so you'll have the usual amount of huffing and puffing, and it's really going to slow down security lines.

BRAND: Rudy, in London they've banned all carry-on bags, and I'm wondering if that could happen here.

MAXA: Well, it certainly could happen here, if this is a threat that seems to be still alive, you know. That would be a sea change in the way Americans travel. There seems to be a race these days, certainly among business travelers, to never check any luggage so they're not delayed, either at the airport or their luggage isn't lost. Not to be able to bring on carry-on would be an enormous change in the way Americans travel.

CHADWICK: Public Radio's savvy traveler speaking with us from Minnesota Public Radio. Rudy Maxa, thank you.

MAXA: Nice talking to you. Thank you, Alex and Madeleine.

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