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Some Travel Basics Today

If your destination is an airport, here are some reminders:
You can't go through the security lines carrying any liquids or gels. They must be in your checked in luggage. The Restricted items include all beverages, shampoo, suntan lotion, creams, tooth paste and hair gel.

The only exceptions, according to the Transportation Security Administration, are baby formula, breast milk, or juice if a baby or small child is traveling; prescription medicine with a name that matches the passenger's ticket; and insulin and essential other non-prescription medicines.

Once you get through the security gate, remember that you still can't take any of these things onto the planes. If you buy a coffee or bottle of water, you have to drink it before you get on the plane.

If you're traveling on the Metro transit system:
Metro also increased security today, even though there was no specific threat to any transit system. You may see evidence of this as you ride this afternoon. Many officers were in the Farragut North Station at midday for a sweep that was meant to be highly visible to the public. There was no specific threat involving that station.

metro sweep FN.jpg Metro police check train. (WMATA)

Metro said in a statement that "Transit police are doing random sweeps of stations, trains and buses. Passengers also may see other law enforcement officers conducting inspections. Rail and bus employees also have stepped up inspections of buses, trains, stations, MetroAccess vehicles and other Metro facilities. The transit agency also has closed all public restrooms in rail stations today. Additional measures include increased security announcements and dumping trash cans more often."

The front doors at Union Station have reopened after police exploded a suspicious package discovered at the station front this morning. The incident did not disrupt train service.

The Maryland Transit Administration Police announced that they were increasing security on the services they protect, which includes MARC. Like Metro, the MTA police ask passengers to keep alert for any suspicious packages or unusual behavior, and if they are concerned about anything, tell a station attendant, crew member or police officer.

Amtrak has not raised its security level today.

What have you folks experienced today at airports or on public transit? Any other alerts to share?

By Robert Thomson  |  August 10, 2006; 2:13 PM ET
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How come nobody's reported on the suspicious package @ Union Station this morning?

The area was closed off around 10:00am this morning, including Columbus Circle and other streets. We were not given the all clear until well after lunch hour (and the package was supposedly detonated and further investigation was completed).

Posted by: Bill | August 10, 2006 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Well, we had delays this morning due to a train problem at the airport, but I think that it was a normal mechanical problem, and not a security problem. There were metro police patrols on my train this morning, but the Pentagon didn't seem to have any increased presence (although they have all through this week).

Posted by: AMH | August 10, 2006 4:05 PM | Report abuse

How long are we going to have to go without being able to have water on a plane? That's asinine. I shouldn't have to spend an entire cross-country flight going without something to keep me from drying out in the cabin (humidity is quite low in a plane). Will a transportation reporter (Dr. Gridlock, anyone?) go to the TSA or whoever it takes to get an answer for this and report back to the people? It would be GREATLY appreciated!

Posted by: imgoph | August 10, 2006 4:27 PM | Report abuse

You would have water or other beverages as given from the steward/ess. The restriction as I understand it is on bringing you OWN stuff on the plane, not on the plane providing it to you in flight.

Posted by: CyanSquirrel | August 10, 2006 6:52 PM | Report abuse

The last time I went cross country I forgot to bring a bottle of water with me. They gave me three small glasses for the whole 6 hr trip, leaving me with a nasty headache afterwards. Basically the stewardess said they couldn't give more due to them bringing only a few bottles for the whole cabin. I can't understand if you were to buy some water in the terminal beyond security and take it with you how that would be a problem. Being insanely paranoid about these things isn't going to make anyone safer.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 10, 2006 9:28 PM | Report abuse

I'm suprised people are so upset about the water issue.

More than two dozen people get arrested for plotting to bring bottles of liquid explosives on a plane-- and what happens? passengers complain about not being able to bring bottles of water.


i bet that just maybe airlines might start carrying more water now. hopefully they won't be charging $10 a bottle...

i'm guessing you can't bring water that you bought past security on a plane because there is no way to know whether or not you actually did buy that past security. security at the security gate is good, but it's by no means flawless- sometimes things slip through. why risk hundreds of people's lives so people can bring their OWN bottle of water on a plane? let's put this in perspective.

anyways, the liquid ban will expire soon enough- when it's safe to. wait and see.

Posted by: JTM | August 11, 2006 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Why is Metro all over this??? Seriously.

Posted by: RCP | August 11, 2006 12:41 PM | Report abuse


"More than two dozen people get arrested for plotting to bring bottles of liquid explosives on a plane-- and what happens? passengers complain about not being able to bring bottles of water."

Maybe they complain because water, while liquid, is not usually considered to be explosive.

Posted by: tac | August 11, 2006 2:26 PM | Report abuse


right. which is why a water bottle would be a good vessel to disguise some other clear liquid that IS explosive.

airlines already have the rule "no explosives." the no liquid thing is just to make sure that one possible avenue of bringing explosives on the plane is closed. i am sure that if all liquid explosives were always in bottles labeled EXPLOSIVE, the water issue wouldnt be an issue.

people need to be tolerant of reasonable security measures like these. they are there to keep us safe.

Posted by: JTM | August 11, 2006 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I heard they are not allowing contact solution to be brought on the cabins of planes either. I have a problem with this because my contacts sometimes get very dried out (to the point of pain and danger to my eyes) especially on long flights. I usually carry a small bottle of solution and my case with me in order to take them out when needed. Obviously the easy solution is to wear my glasses instead for flights, but really how long can they ban all liquids from planes?

I was thinking of how much of a hassle this will end up causing and how some people will probably choose not to fly until the restrictions are relaxed. Think about how many people prefer to carry on when they have an overnight trip somewhere for one day. Either bring no toiletries or check your baggage. What a pain.

And yes I understand it is in the name of safety and perfectly reasonable after such a plot has been uncovered, but I'm still allowed to gripe.

I am soooo glad I flew home from Boston on Monday and not a few days later or I would have been deep in all this mess.

Posted by: Laura | August 11, 2006 5:04 PM | Report abuse

they let you have medicines and other "essential, non-prescription drugs." i wonder if you could pass off the solution as essential.

my aunt always told me to spit in a small glass of water and use that when i forgot my solution.

i wonder if airlines would give the same advice?

Posted by: dchombre | August 11, 2006 5:32 PM | Report abuse

My solution to this potential problem is to fill the contact case with enough solution to store my contacts if they needed to be removed. I don't think they would be able to notice it.

Posted by: Laura | August 11, 2006 11:28 PM | Report abuse


From the TSA FAQ page:
"Passengers should pack their patience and ensure that that they do not bring any liquids to the security checkpoint in carry-on luggage. These items are no longer permitted on board the aircraft."

Even if they allow the contact case with some fluid in it (doubtful from the above statement), and then you have to take your contacts out during the flight, what will you then do? Slip on a pair of glasses or go without corrective lenses?

If the glasses option, why tempt fate in the first place by trying to sneak through security with the fluid in the lens case? They might just tell you to throw the lens case with fluid out. Why not just wear the glasses and pack the contact lens case in the checked baggage?

If the no corrective lens option, why don't you have a pair of regular glasses as backup if you need them?

And don't give us the "I don't look good in glasses" excuse, please.

Posted by: Mike in Baltimore | August 12, 2006 1:38 AM | Report abuse

In reference to Mike in Baltimore.

I prefer to wear my contacts as a comfort thing and because I see better in my contacts than in my glasses. 99% of the time, I don't have a problem, but it's situations where eyes become iritated that I am refering to. Standard eye health calls for one to remove their contacts or use solution to rinse them if your eyes become irritated. I always carry my glasses with me just in case. I just found it interesting TSA was preventing such a basic necessecity. If you don't wear contacts it's may be hard to understand.

If they told me to i couldn't have solution in the case, i would simply dump the solution, not the entire case. It's probably less than 1 ounce of liquid in the entire case. Maybe even less than that.

But this doesn't really matter anymore anyway since you are now allowed to bring small bottles of non-presription liquids onto planes (along with prescription liquids).

Posted by: Laura | August 14, 2006 4:02 PM | Report abuse

I Wear acuvue dispossable contacts are they allowing dispossable contacts with your carry on bag. they come sealed with a small amount of saline solution in the small tray.All I have is carry on I dont have bags to check in.
Thanks in advance.


Posted by: Jose Rivera | August 22, 2006 1:22 AM | Report abuse

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