While you can’t completely avoid the possibility of extra screening at airport security, you can take a few measures to improve your odds of zipping through the lines. Here are 10 helpful tips to guide you through airport security and get to your gate on time.
1. Determine your ideal choice of checkpoints. Most airports have multiple security screening areas. Check to see if there are any “off the beaten path” with shorter lines.
2. Pack your coat in your checked luggage. This will cut down on the number of items you have to screen and/or take off before going through the detectors.
3. Watch those liquids and gels! Remember: all passengers are limited to one quart-sized zip-top bag of liquid toiletries containing no more than 3.4 ounces each. Also, make sure that toiletry bag is easily accessible so you can get it out of your purse, briefcase, or carry-on and into a screening bin quickly.
4. Consider your shoes. Wear slip-ons or other shoes that require little lacing. (You might also consider wearing socks to save your feet from the bacteria that’s surely on the floors.)
5. Dress for success. Leave belts, jewelery, hair clips, etc. at home or in your bag until you make it through the metal detectors. And don’t forget to empty your pockets!
6. Keep electronics accessible. While small electronics like cell phones, computer mouses, iPods, and cords/chargers don’t have to be screened separately, pack them in an easy-to-get-to location so that security can screen them with an unobstructed view. Laptops must be removed from their bags, unless you have a “checkpoint friendly” laptop case. Large electronics submitted for screening separately.
7. Leave gifts unwrapped. Wrapped packages may need additional screening and agents will remove the wrapping.
8. Have your identification and boarding pass out and ready to go. No one wants to wait behind you while you dig through your purse or pocket.
9. Be on time and allow a bit of wiggle room. You never know what you might encounter as you make your way to your flight–whether it’s traffic, understaffed check-in desks, or long lines at security–but if you give yourself a few extra minutes you can breathe easy knowing you’ll make your flight on-time and without issue.
10. Be patient. The more pleasant you are to the agents and those around you, the better your experience will be.
For more information on how to get through the security lines faster, visit TSA.gov.