The TSA is fighting an uphill battle, with an unprecedented 20 percent more travelers this holiday season than in years past. They are asking for neatness–and that’s a sensible thing. USA Today has this story with some good advice for packing.

“If you eliminate clutter, it helps us get a cleaner look at the contents of a bag” on checkpoint X-ray machines, Howe says. The faster that screeners can figure out what’s inside a bag, the quicker they can clear it.

Kevin Mitchell, chairman of the Business Travel Coalition, applauds the TSA’s effort but says he’s not “real optimistic” it will help expedite security lines. “The message is a pretty sophisticated one, and it’s a lot for the average person who is traveling for the first time in months to remember,” he says.

The TSA has sent airports and airlines posters and a 60-second video in which a female narrator advises: “Think layers. One layer of clothes. One layer of electronics.” The video will be played on checkpoint screens that broadcast security announcements.

Airports also are going beyond trying to speed up lines and are preparing for stranded passengers, says Eileen Denne of the Airports Council International. Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport recently bought four new buses to retrieve travelers from any planes stuck on the tarmac, Denne says.

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