Every holiday season there seems to be a little frustration for those who travel by plane. I’m always getting asked how I deal with getting through security since I travel so much. So…
Here are 7 steps to get you through airport security in a quick and easy fashion.
1. Show up early. If you are checking a bag, make sure you know the baggage acceptance cutoff time the airline allows in order for you to get your checked bag on the flight. Some cities are 30 minutes, some are 40 minutes, some are 45 minutes and some are 60 minutes before the flights departure time. If you don’t make the cutoff then you don’t get to check your bag then you are left with a decision as to what to do with your bag or try to get on a later flight. Check your airlines website for this information. Also, security delays vary by concourse and terminal. Go to tsa.gov to find average wait times. If you’re not checking bags, print your boarding pass at home and head to the fastest line.
2. Go to the shortest line. After you pass ID screening, quickly go to the shortest line. Don’t hesitate to bypass those with a look of confusion on their face. Not only will you get there faster, you’ll keep the whole line moving. If you are in a premium line set up by the airlines or the expert traveler line, it is assumed that you know how to get through security quickly with the next four steps. As is the case in Nashville, most inexperienced travelers think the Expert Traveler line is the short line. The Expert Traveler Line is not the short line, it is for those who know how to get through security with little to no effort. Which most times makes it a quicker line… not to be confused with a shorter line. Those who don’t travel often usually make the Expert Line slower because they don’t travel enough to know how to get through security quickly.
Here is a helpful link to determine which kind of traveler you are as you go through security. What Kind of Traveler Are You?
3. Carry a messenger bag. The top flap gives easy access to your laptop and Ziploc of liquids and gels while the pockets provide plenty of storage for alarm-trippers such as your belt, wallet, keys, watch, and phone. Don’t worry about pulling your iPad out. TSA just wants your laptop.
4. Dress strategically. If you don’t have to wear a belt, then don’t. Try to wear as little jewelry as possible or at least put it in your messenger bag or purse until you get through security and never carry coins in your pants pocket while flying. You will just have to empty the coins out and nothing slows a line down faster than someone who has to take off every piece of jewelry and empty every coin from their pockets. If you see a pocket protector full of stuff on the guy in front of you, be prepared to wait. That guy’s a rookie.
5. Wear laceless shoes. I always wear boots, running shoes with lace locks, or flip flops in the summer so I can slip into them quickly and easily once they have come through the scanner.
6. Use only two bins. Place shoes, coat, and Ziploc of liquids and gels in the first bin; laptop in the second; Send the messenger bag through first followed by the laptop, then your second bin (shoes, coat, and Ziploc of liquids and gels) followed by your roller bag. If you have a roller bag, keep the roller on the floor, where it’s easy to manage until the last minute before you place it on the belt.
7. Don’t complain. There are probably several reasons for us to complain about why people get pulled aside for the ‘full body’ scan and search. Especially, if those people are elderly. No matter, it’s the TSA’s job to follow through certain procedures regardless of age or race. I know, it’s frustrating sometimes and I have seen my share of frustrated people going through security. If for some reason you do see the TSA do something that is completely out of line, then report it online. The TSA blog is a great place to file a complaint, as they are very quick to look into the situation and fix it if the complaint is valid. Those that complain in the security line slow down the line for everyone else, including themselves.
With all the attention and controversy around the new body scanners (Advanced Image Technology), you do have the option to opt out of the scanner screening in exchange of a “pat down”. Click HERE to read about opting out of the Advanced Image Technology Screening.
One thing to know if you don’t travel often – The full body scanners aren’t being used 100% of the time. Just during certain parts of the day.
Also, here is a little blurb about traveling with liquids in your carry on bag. This is from the TSA as well.
The 3-1-1 rules for liquids, gels and aerosols remain in effect. All liquids, except those that are medically exempted must be in 3oz or less containers, in a one quart zip-top bag, one bag per traveler. Speaking of medically exempt liquids and technology, we’re currently using Bottled Liquids Scanners (BLS) to screen sealed containers for a wide range of explosive liquids. The technology is used primarily to test medically exempt liquids brought through checkpoints in quantities larger than three ounces.
SO… if you are flying over the holidays this season…Show up prepared. More times than not, the problems that occur in the security line are because of the passenger, not the TSA. The short time it takes to get through security doesn’t have to ruin your whole day if YOU are the one with your stuff together.
As George Clooney says in the movie Up In The Air “To know me is to fly with me.”
P.S. Thanks @AmericanAir for making my travel life easy and to Marlyn Bullock for booking all of my travel. You always get it right… every time.Google+