Empty your pockets of loose change. Wallets and cell phones will have to go into the provided bins. Remember bracelets, watches, and belts with buckles can set of the alarm, so take those off, and stow them in your carry-on bag before you get to the front of the line, or of course you can also put them in the bins.
Pack an organized carry-on bag. Innocent items can appear to be threats in an x-ray simply because of the way they are packed. You should always have a change of clothes with you just in case your suit case is delayed, so pack the clothing first and then set other items on top. Try to wrap head phone and charger wires neatly, just in case you have to remove an item it will avoid it from being tangled with other things in your bag.
If you are taking liquids, remember that the guideline is a 1 quart sized, clear plastic bag, and you can only have one per person with no more than 3 ounces of liquid in each container. There shouldn’t be any loose liquids in your carry-on bag. When in doubt, pack your liquids in checked luggage. If you have “medically necessary” liquids or baby food, in most countries, those can be outside of your plastic bag allowance, but you must notify a screening officer. These items may need to be opened to conduct additional screening.
In the United States, you have to take your shoes off. Slip-on shoes will come off and go on faster. Zippers and laces will slow you down… have your shoes untied or unzipped before you get to the front of the line. (Take care when you put them back on that you don’t trip before you’re put back together!)
Have a plan when you put things into bins on the screening belt. If you put things through the screening in the right order, you’ll be able to put yourself back together faster afterward. Here’s a good way to do this:
1. First put your shoes, coat and your carry-on “personal item” (usually your smaller bag) in the first bin. They will come through the x-ray first, and you can be putting them back on while you’re waiting for your other items to be screened.
2. If you’re carrying a computer, put your carry-on bag for your laptop in the bin ahead of your computer, then when your computer comes through, you’ll have the laptop bag ready to slip the computer right into it.
If it’s going to take you a long time to put your shoes back on, collect all of your belongings and move to the side so the line doesn’t get jammed up. There are usually a few chairs against a wall nearby where you can sit down and put yourself back together. You will annoy your fellow travelers AND the screening agents if you stand there and try to put those shoes on…. leaving your bin on the screening belt with others backing up behind yours. Airports report that almost half of all security checkpoint bottlenecks are caused by people putting themselves together after screening without moving to the side…. don’t let this be you!
Arrive early. Give yourself at least 1 hour for domestic flights (75 minutes is ideal,) and 2 to 2.5 hours for international flights.
If you are traveling with children, you will need to carry them so that strollers or carriers can to through the X-ray machine. If possible, collapse your stroller before you get to the metal detector.
Last but not least, have your boarding pass and identification ready to show not only the ticket counter, but also the TSA agents. Only when you have cleared security should you put these items away.
Follow these simple guidelines, and next time you travel, you’re going to move through that security easily.
There are security lines in almost all airports in the world these days. If you want to get through those lines like the frequent flyers do, there are a few tricks that will make it easier for you and everyone around you. Think ahead, so you’re not doing all of this just as you get to the head of the line.