6 Tips to Breeze through Airport Security
By Chaitanya Bala
You just booked a flight to destination paradise! Pretty soon, you’re going to be kicking back and relaxing against a beautiful backdrop with your loved ones. But before you can get the chance to do that, there’s one major obstacle you must get through: dreaded airport security. Having to take off your shoes and jackets in the middle of a crowded, frustrated line of people, while trying to yank all your electronics out of your compact backpack can be pretty hectic and stressful. With airport security being the most tedious step during air travel, it’s not surprising people get frustrated before stepping in line. But you can make your experience a lot easier, quicker, and efficient if you’re well-prepared beforehand. Here are 6 great tips to help you breeze through airport security.
Review the TSA List
First and foremost, before you start packing your carry-on, you should make sure to review the TSA’s list of prohibited items. And believe us – there are quite a few things that you cannot, by any means, bring. We’ll skip the obvious ones like guns and knives, because it’s pretty obvious why TSA wouldn’t want you walking around with those in the middle of an airport. But there are a few quirks to the list which we want to bring to your attention. Athletic equipment? Definitely leave all that at home or in your checked-in luggage. If you’re planning on doing home improvement at the airport, you can actually bring screwdrivers, wrenches and pliers that are less than 7 inches in length if you so please. The TSA’s list of prohibited items is very exhaustive, so we urge you to review it yourself before you start packing.
Not only does packing all your belongings in a neat, orderly fashion help you out in the long run when you’re digging through your luggage trying to find everything at your destination, but it can also be a lifesaver at the security check. If you’ve been traveling recently, you are probably aware that there are always a few standard items you are obligated to remove from your carry-on bags: laptops, tablets, and anything in between. With that being said, it’s no surprise that people lose ground at the security check as they start rummaging through their jungle of belongings to hunt out the electronics. Get one of these spiffy briefcase-looking laptop bags where you can store all your essentials and easily access your electronics to speed up the security process.
Wear Easily Removable Attire
Half the struggle of getting through the airport security lines is removing your jackets, shoes, jewelry, and pretty much anything else that could make a metal detector go off. We can all agree that it’s pretty annoying when you have to take off your outerwear and then haul it all over to a bench on the other side of the security check, spending another 10 minutes putting everything back on. Simple solution? Make sure that whatever you wear can be easily slipped on and off. If you’re going to be traveling all day and going through multiple security checks, combat boots with intricate shoelaces are not a good choice. Stay comfortable and purchase something like these highly-rated Bear Paw slippers , which are easy to take off.
If you’re not overly familiar with TSA guidelines on liquids, be warned that anything larger than 3.4 oz (100 ml) will be thrown away. There isn’t any other way around it. The only exceptions to this rule are baby food and any medications you need to take that exceed 3.4 oz. Aside from that, chances are you’ll need to hand over everything else – whether it’s a bottle of water or a $200 bottle of Chanel cologne – for TSA to throw away. Save yourself the mental agony of having to pitch your much-needed belongings by getting fun-sized versions. You can get travel toiletries in pretty much every convenience store, which makes having the essentials a cakewalk. And the expensive perfumes and cologne? Leave them at home. If you absolutely need to bring them, securely pack them in your check-in luggage.
Beat the Crowd
This tip is pretty self-explanatory. If you get to the security line early, you get to beat all the stragglers who decide to join the line 20 minutes before boarding. As a result of getting in line early, you can remove articles of clothing and other objects from your bag more leisurely without feeling rushed. Arriving early is especially important if you’re traveling with small children, senior citizens, or someone who has a physical disability, as this could prolong the security check. Most sources recommend you arrive at the airport at least 2 hours prior to your flight’s boarding to make plenty of time for checking in your luggage and making it through airport security.
Check out TSA Pre✓®
If you consider yourself a low-risk traveler (meaning you have a pretty clean record and are staying in the U.S. legally), you might want to think about applying to the TSA Pre✓® program. If you are selected as a member of the program, you get a plethora of perks which will make your days of waiting around in airport security a thing of the past. You will essentially get a special pass to go through the member line, where you can more quickly and conveniently pass through the security screening. With the TSA Pre✓® service being offered at more than 150 airports nationwide, you’ll almost always be able to rely on it. And get this – you’ll never have to remove your laptop from your backpack, or take off your shoes, belts and jackets ever again!