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When Teens Fly: Four Possible Issues

by Jane Wangersky | May 20th, 2016 | Seasonal, Teens

girl with piercingsFor background to this article, I talked to a high school senior who had recently flown on an international trip with a school band. You might think he’d bring back some horror stories — or at least some funny stories — that showed what teens should and shouldn’t do while traveling by air, but there were none from this trip. Nobody got detained as a possible drug runner, or starved on a no-frills flight. There was some mild annoyance from a food vendor at Dallas-Fort Worth, when someone discovered how good the Thai chicken wraps were and the whole group started ordering them, burning through a week’s supply. Oh, and the incident with the blue-haired girl.

Which leads to my focus: Things that teens may need to watch out for as they deal with airport security.

ID pictures that no longer look like the person. This was the blue-haired girl’s issue: The hair on her ID wasn’t blue, or listed as blue. She had to show alternate ID, and it was just a good thing she had some. This happened even though TSA regulations say passengers under 18 don’t need ID unless they’re traveling alone. (To see what qualifies as ID — like most driver’s licenses — read here.)

Piercings that can set off the metal detector. If that happens, the choices are to go through a pat-down or go somewhere private to take out the jewelry. Either one is something of a hassle, so just leaving it out may be the best thing to do.

Parents’ TSA Pre✓® privileges don’t extend to teens. Members of this program can take their pre-teen children through the expedited line with them, but anyone 13 or over has to apply for their own trusted traveler status or go through the regular line.

Extra lithium batteries for electronics can’t be packed in checked baggage. Fires involving these batteries can get so hot, the TSA blog says, that the cargo bay sprinklers may not be able to control them. So they need to stay in the carry-on baggage, close to the passengers who can . . . not get hurt putting out any fires that start.

If there’s any question over an item your teen wants to take along, they can check it out quickly with the “When I fly can I bring my…” feature on the TSA site. And if you happen to be in DFW any time soon, think about trying the Thai chicken wraps.

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