There might be a thread on this but thought it might be helpful for those of us who fly with our furballs to have a place to lend our experiences to those of you who might be on the fence about doing it.
Don't wash your hands with soap before you go through security! I never thought about this, and perhaps I never used the bathroom before a flight but yesterday I did. When you go through security you have to take your dog out of the carrier, which goes through X-ray and then you carry your dog through the X-ray walk through thing. After that a TSA agent escorts you and your carried dog to a station where they swab your hands and run it through a sensor machine. After the scan comes out clean you're good to go on your way... unless they find something on your hands! YIKES!!!! Picture this, I'm holding Timmy as usual while the male TSA agent swabs and I'm preparing to get Tim back in he's bag and go my merry way, when all the sudden he gets on his radio and starts talking in code and very quietly 3 to 4 agents come over and I'm like "huh?". I asked what was going on and he said they found something on my hands. I was asked to put Timmy back in his carrier after they inspected it and coudn't touch anything not even my whimpering puppy in his bag.
I was taken to a little room where I was searched by a couple woman TSA agents very respectfully, and I totally understood them having to do this but I was so freaked out. After all was said and done, after about 20 minutes, I was cleared. I asked one of the TSA agents afterwards what they found on my hands and she explained they not only test for explosives but chemicals as well, which is what they found on my hands, probably due to me using soap on them after I used the bathroom.
I don't think I'm going to be using the bathroom before flying again. Lord know I could never use the bathroom and not wash my hands.
Sad thing was I went to the bathroom because it was raining outside and I was waiting for it to slow down so I could take Tim out for a last pee before we started to the gate, it never stopped raining so Tim had to hold it. He was such a good boy through all of this, he definitely knew something was going on but he layed down in his bag and just quietly watched what was going on. The TSA agents were very nice and said he was such a good boy. The flight home is a whole different thread...
I'll have to get started on that one.