Hi brneyes. The order is pick up ticket/boarding pass -> check luggage at same desk --> then go to the security checkpoint with only your carry-on bag. You won't be able to go through security without a boarding pass. You'll also need to show photo ID when going through security, so be sure to not pack it in your checked luggage.
Very good question f-mattox. One that we posed to the TSA that went unanswered. I'm guessing the baggage handler/TSA went postal that day. Although, TSA requested the luggage for inspection and gave us $250.00 for compensation and the inconvenience. Still was pretty embarrassing walking through Newark.
Hubby and I started packing our non-TSA locks and locking hte luggage with cable ties. That way IF TSA wants to search they can cut a cable tie (we pack extras for the return trip). Then when we are at our destination, we use our locks that a thief would have to cut through (versus using a pin or one of just a hand full of simple keys for a TSA lock). Interstingly enough, we have yet to have them cut through any cable ties. I'm guessing we don't have anything interesting enough for them to waste their time.
Past Cruises -
Rhapsody - Alaska - May 2010
Monarch - Bahamas - May 2009
Mariner - Western - May 2007
Mariner - Eastern - March 2008