Because I fly at least three times every month, my packing and planning skills are finally honed. I've been known to travel internationally for two weeks out of one carry-on bag.
You can imagine my dilemma when TSA barred all gels, pastes, and liquids beyond airport security. I contemplated sending toothpaste, deodorant, and hair gel to each of my hotels using an overnight delivery service, but that proved to be more expensive than buying the same items at my destination and then disposing of them before I checked-out.
Since most hotels provide shampoo, liquid soap, and mouthwash, my purchases were minimal. My only complaint was locating a drug store and making time in my schedule to stop and shop.
I was so excited when TSA recently announced that gels, pastes, and liquids where once again allowed through security screening. The only restriction was that they had to be transported in clear plastic containers that were three-ounces or less in size. All of the clear contains also had to fit in a one-quart clear plastic bag that could be sealed.
The evening news made a big deal out of the change and predicted record lines and waiting times the next day at airports around the country. I was undaunted and took my see-through one-quart bag filled with three-ounce clear containers to security for my morning flight from O'Hare to Boston. I breezed through security in less than 3 minutes which was record time for that hour of the day.
I would have been through faster, but several TSA employees were curious to see their regulations in practice. They passed the see-through bag around and nodded approvingly. One TSA employee waived the bag in the air and shouted to those waiting in the security queue that, "this is the way to transport gels, pastes, and liquids. Do it just like this and you will be just fine." The TSA employees seemed somewhat surprised that someone had actually read and followed their rules.
I took the same see-through bag filled with three-ounce containers through Boston, Baltimore, and Dallas airport security during the next two weeks and never encountered a delay. TSA officials were always curious about the one-quart bag, but they always let it pass through.
The only negative thing I noticed about allowing gels, pastes, and liquids to be carried onboard is that the overhead compartments are beginning to get full again. When everyone was checking their baggage, the overhead compartments onboard the planes were conveniently empty which is a treat for any frequent flier.