Travel hasn’t just returned to pre-pandemic levels, it’s blown right past it! It’s become pretty clear that you can no longer show up at the airport less than an hour before your flight and expect a smooth process. 

Over the holiday weekend, we went to check out the NHL Winter Classic at T-Mobile Park in Seattle on New Year’s Day. It was one of those incredible sporting events that we’ll never, ever forget! We’ll never forget how busy the airport was either. Not only did the game pack 47,00 hockey fans from all over the country into the Mariner’s home stadium, the Seattle Seahawks hosted almost 69,000 football fans for their match up with the Pittsburgh Steelers the day before. A big chunk of those sports fans and people wrapping up holiday travel were all trying to get home, resulting in long bag check drop-offs and TSA security lines. 

Photo by Erik Odiin on Unsplash
Photo by Erik Odiin on Unsplash
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While we know it was a busier than average day at the SeaTac, the airport still recommends arriving two hours before your boarding time for domestic flights and three hours before international flights.

It’s also highly recommended that you check the TSA’s “What Can I Bring” page to make sure that you’re not packing prohibited items. Most travelers are familiar with the rules for carry-ons or will check that page beforehand to ensure they’re not the reason a security line slows down. Sometimes, they overlook or are confused about what can or cannot be put in a checked bag. 

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We experienced this on the way BACK home a few years ago. The gate agent for my airline told us we couldn’t pack our full-size (7 oz) aerosol hairspray in our checked luggage. We’d flown with a similar can of hairspray dozens of times and it was never a problem. Not wanting to miss our flight, we threw it out because we didn’t have time to argue with them even though that size can is fully admissible under TSA guidance. 

Photo by Tuva Mathilde Løland on Unsplash
Photo by Tuva Mathilde Løland on Unsplash
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Upon our arrival back home, we looked to see if the hairspray was against a policy the airline had. The gate agent was wrong, but at least it was just a $7 can of hairspray from Walmart and not some fancy, overpriced salon brand! 

That said, there are certain things that are absolutely banned from traveling in your checked luggage. If you pack them, you will absolutely lose the argument with a gate agent. If your bag makes its way to TSA inspection with one of these items in it, you could be subject to fines or be arrested, depending on what the item is. Fines can range from $390 all the way up to $14,950. That’s a quick way to ruin your vacation. 

We pulled 19 of the items prohibited from checked luggage off the TSA’s website, but there are well over 50 items in total. You can check the full list here. Take a peek at it so that your next trip out of SEA is an easy one! 

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