The TSA Is Cracking Down on Snacks at the Airport

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iStock

Bad news for frequent fliers: It may take you a little longer to get through airport security if you’re packing snacks. Food is still allowed in carry-on bags—so it’s not exactly time to panic yet—but The New York Times reports that TSA agents can ask passengers to remove their food and screen it separately, thus holding up the line.

The author of the article, Shivani Vora, wrote that she was recently delayed 15 minutes at Newark Liberty International Airport's security line when she overheard a TSA officer explaining the “new policy” to another passenger. She rifled through her two carry-on bags to find all of her snacks, placed them in a separate container, pushed them through the X-ray, and continued waiting while an officer inspected her food by hand.

Another passenger reported being delayed 15 minutes when the man in line ahead of her had to remove all of his Starbursts and bite-sized Twix, and similar complaints have been circulating in recent months. However, contrary to the TSA agent’s explanation and the apparent rise in cases such as these, the policy isn’t exactly new. It’s about a year old, and it gives TSA agents the power to screen food separately if they request it.

“There is no official policy which says that TSA agents must ask passengers to remove food from their bags,” TSA spokesman Mike England tells the Times. “Rather, the policy is that officers have the right to ask passengers to remove food if they feel that it’s necessary.”

The policy was reportedly enacted for safety reasons, because overstuffed bags can’t be screened as effectively, and some food items resemble explosives in an X-ray. If you’re not quite ready to give up your snacks, though, you can still save some time in the security line by applying for a TSA PreCheck.

[h/t The New York Times]

5 Apps to Help You Beat Airport Security Check Lines

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iStock.com/AzmanL

No one wants to be “that guy,” the one who has to ask everyone at the airport security checkpoint if they can jump the line because they’re running late. However, considering the current government shutdown and talks of a potential TSA worker strike, those long lines might be getting worse. If you’re planning to travel soon, it’s best to be prepared for any scenario. Here are five apps that help you keep tabs on airport security wait times.

1. App in the Air

In addition to helping you keep track of your flight schedule, baggage allowance, and travel expenses, this one-stop travel app will tell you how long a wait you can expect at the check-in, security, and customs lines.

2. MyTSA

The TSA’s own app, MyTSA, provides wait times based on crowdsourced data. Travelers can lend their fellow passengers a hand by reporting their wait time within the app’s Checkpoint Wait Time section. The app will also tell you how busy an airport is likely to be on any given day, based on historical data.

3. MiFlight

MiFlight uses crowdsourced information to tell you how long the wait is likely to be at security checkpoints in more than 150 airports. It also comes with terminal maps to help you find your way around.

4. KAYAK Flights, Hotels & Cars

The travel connoisseurs at KAYAK have condensed many of its services into one handy app. Its wait time estimates are based on information from the TSA as well as other passengers.

5. Airports by flightSpeak

Much like MiFlight, this app relies on crowdsourced data to create wait time estimates. It also compiles the tweets of over 150 airport accounts, providing an extra source of information regarding delays and other important updates.

9 Regional Pizza Toppings Worth a Try

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iStock

Some people can become so devoted to their favorite specific pizza toppings, that many online ordering apps allow you to preset your preferences with the expectation they’re never going to change.

Granted, pepperoni and mushroom with extra cheese never fails to satisfy. But in honor of National Pizza Week (which kicks off today), try ordering one of these regional specialty toppings that might totally change your pizza perspective.

1. Truffles // New York City

Fall is truffle season, and New York’s restaurants and pizzerias love to take full advantage of the fluffy fungi to add flavor. As supplies are shipped through the city's artery of eateries, you'll find several locations that add the shaved delicacy to pies. Yelp reviewers are fond of Song E Napule in the West Village.

2. Lobster //Boston


Karyn Christner via Flickr // CC BY 2.0

It’s no great surprise that crustaceans who were occupying the coast just a few hours prior to being served are going to be a town specialty. But Boston does a great job of incorporating shellfish into their Italian-inspired fare, too: One of the most notable dishes is at Scampo inside the Liberty Hotel (and former jail), where chef Lydia Shire takes a thin crust pizza and douses it with heavy cream, garlic, and the meat of an entire two-pound lobster.

3. Provel Cheese // St. Louis, Missouri

If you think you’ve tried every possible cheese variety on your crust, you might have missed St. Louis’s proprietary variation: Provel, a highly-processed blend of Swiss, provolone, and cheddar. Gooey, waxy, and thick, it can be found at area chain Imo’s, which also doubles as the cheese’s distributor.

4. Crab // Baltimore, Maryland


jeffreyw via Flickr // CC BY 2.0

While other area pie shops toss crab on their menu, no less an authority than Zagat declared Matthew's Pizza's crab deep dish pie to be well worth a road trip. It’s pizza so good that it helped fuel writer David Simon through a stint producing HBO’s The Wire. Simon once said "it’s unlike anything that calls itself pizza anywhere in the world."

5. Mashed potato // New Haven, Connecticut

New Haven was already renowned for its pizza before the proprietors of BAR decided to take the concept of comfort food to a new level. Their mashed potato pizza is topped with light, whipped spuds and bacon bits.

6. Salad // Los Angeles


David J via Flickr // CC BY 2.0

It seems like a cliché: of course image-obsessed L.A. would spare calories by dousing their pizzas with lettuce. But looks can be deceiving. Grey Block Pizza in Santa Monica uses covers its dough with cheese, onion, and sour cream, which is then topped with a chopped salad, lemon-olive oil dressing, and a layer of fresh avocados. It’s thick, crunchy, and has no ability to spare your waistline.

7. Barbeque // Memphis, Tennessee

Barbeque chicken pizza is everywhere, but if you want it done right, head to Memphis and opt for the pork. Coletta’s—the city's oldest restaurant—takes a standard crust and drowns it in pulled pork and their signature barbeque sauce. The pies are so good that Elvis Presley kept a running tab he’d have Colonel Parker (his manager) pay off monthly. If you’re not local, they’ll be happy to ship one to you.

8. UNCOOKED, A.K.A. OHIO VALLEY STYLE // STEUBENVILLE, OHIO


Daniel Oines via Flickr // CC BY 2.0

While some bloggers have compared this practice to topping pizza with a Lunchables box, there’s no denying it’s an intriguing take on preparing a pie. Pizzerias in Steubenville are fond of cooking the dough and then adding uncooked cheese and toppings post-mortem, allowing the heat from the crust to slowly melt the cheese or using a takeout box to effectively steam-cook the top.

9. Kangaroo //Sydney, Australia

The adventurous meat lover may want to venture to Sydney, where local establishments like The Australian Hotel offer pies topped with rich kangaroo meat. Slices of 'roo tenders are marinated in a pepper and onion olive sauce. If that's too tame for you, the Hotel can also serve up a Salt Water Crocodile slice.

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