DEAR ABBY: I am a newly hired airport security screener with the Transportation Security Administration. Since many of your readers will travel by air this holiday season, I would like to encourage all of them to visit the TSA's Web site at: www.TSA.gov. This site provides a complete list of what passengers are NOT allowed to take on board in their carry-on luggage. It is important to know that many items that cannot be brought into the cabin ARE allowed in the cargo hold.
One of my favorite travel tips comes from frequent fliers. They have stopped using traditional shaving kits and cosmetic bags and instead put their toiletries in clear, resealable freezer bags. When searching a suitcase, the transparent baggies allow me to easily determine if someone has any prohibited items -- and it means I don't have to handle the traveler's possessions. One woman even packed her nylons and underwear in plastic bags. It enabled me to adequately "crush and feel" for security purposes without having to paw through her undergarments.
Thanks for getting the word out, Abby. Airline passengers can save themselves (and us) a lot of time by "packing smart." -- MARGARET MEYERS, MERION STATION, PA.
DEAR MARGARET: Excellent advice. The quicker and more efficiently travelers can pass through airport security, the safer we'll all be.