I've traveled enough to have heard it all. Here's a run down of the questions I hear most often get asked. Note that these answers are correct at the time of posting. TSA does revise their security procedures and I highly reccomend checking their website for the most up to date security procedures. You can visit their site at www.tsa.gov
Do I have to take out my laptop? In all US Airports, you must take out your laptop and place it in a separate bin from the rest of your belongings. If you have multiple ipads, they typically request that those come out as well but if you have just one ipad in your bag, it's usually safe to keep it in your bag. When traveling internationally, I have had a few airports not request it be taken out but better safe than sorry. I always take it out.
Do I need to take off my shoes? Once again, it varies where you are flying out of. USA Airports always request they be removed unless you are under or over a certain age. Signs are usually posted detailing that information. Some international airports don't require they be removed but when in doubt, ask the TSA officials and look for signs. Items that must be removed are usually posted. Remember, It's all for your safety
Can I bring liquids through? It depends. If the fluid is in a container that is 3 ounces or less, you may bring them through and TSA typically asks that they be removed from your bag and placed in the TSAvcontainer. Bottled water and any liquid greater than 3 ounces in size will need to be checked in your baggage or left behind with TSA.
What is TSA Pre-Check? TSA Pre Check is a program that allows frequent flyers who have gone thru TSA screening via their Global Entry program to bypass some of the security checks by not having to remove shoes, laptops, and light jackets. Any metal objects such as a belt would still need to be removed.
Can I decline going thru the x-ray scanner? You may but you are then subject to a manual pat down by a TSA official. They typically pull you to the side and use the wand around your body and then use the back of their hand to check your pockets and creases in your clothes. It's much easier to just go thru the machine but if you can't or choose not to, you can always opt for the manual pat down.