6 New Air Travel Rules Added in 2018

published Dec 20, 2018
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Traveling by plane can be tough, but flying over the holidays can be downright exhausting. Between delayed flights, long lines, and strict security checks, it helps to know what to expect before you get to the airport.

So for those of you who haven’t had to endure the chaos of airline travel yet this year, we called on Eric Hrubant, president of CIRE Travel, to help us break down a few new rules that TSA added in 2018. From removable smart bag batteries to Real IDs, here’s what you need to know before flying this season.

1. Smart bags must have removable batteries

“Have one of those awesome smart bags or other luggage that has a battery to charge all of your devices on the go? Well, if you’re flying any major airlines this season (i.e. Delta Air Lines, Southwest, American, or Alaska Airlines), those batteries will need to be removed if you’re checking that bag and brought with you into the cabin. Some of the original models don’t have ejectable batteries so be sure to double check—because your luggage could be a no-go for checking. Also, even if you are carrying on, gate agents may ask you to demonstrate that the battery is indeed removable. Away has some great info if you’re not sure.”

2. Most of your electronics will need to come out for carry-on screening

“In addition to removing your laptop, TSA is now requires that any electronics larger than a cell phone go into a bin for security screening, too. So be prepared to take out all your Kindles, iPads, handheld game consoles, etc. when you get to the checkpoint.”

3. CLEAR can help you save time

“Everyone thinks CLEAR and TSA Pre Check are the same—but they are not! CLEAR is a private company (though TSA compliant) that uses biometrics to verify your identity, and makes getting through security a breeze. When you get to the airport, there’s no need to fumble with boarding passes or ID; you just walk up to the CLEAR kiosk where your fingerprints and irises are scanned to confirm identity, then you go through the security checkpoint. No lines, no waiting! (Even if you’re not traveling in first or business class.) It’s not in every airport yet, but you can check to see if it’s in your home airport—we recommend it to all of our clients.”

4. Real ID requirements

“While the deadline for having a Real ID (a.k.a. state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards that meet the Department of Homeland Security’s minimum security standards) doesn’t fully go into effect until 2020, frequent travelers should start looking into requirements now. The DHS website has all the info you need, and California’s DMV has a great infographic that helps simplify things.”

5. Liquid matters

“Despite any rumors you may have heard, you still have to limit the liquids in your carry-on bag to one quart-sized zip-top bag (with containers no larger than 3.4 ounces). If you’re not sure about bringing something in the cabin, you can go to the TSA website or tweet @AskTSA with your question—they’re really good about answering quickly!”

6. Check your passport expiry

“Okay this is more of a reminder than a change in rules but: Check your passport! If it expires within the next six months, get it renewed now. Trust me, it’s no fun to get to the airport for your fabulous European vacation only to be turned away because your passport has expired.”