5 Tips for Getting through Airport Security Quickly

April 3, 2015
5 Tips for Getting through Airport Security Quickly -

We all know airport security is there for a reason. TSA agents aren’t scanning your bags just for kicks and giggles. However, unless you’ve personally witnessed the TSA thwarting a terrorist agent, chances are you forget their true purpose in light of your personal inconvenience.

I appreciate that airport security exists to make my trip safer, but there have been plenty of times when said security seems downright annoying. 

For example, one time I was traveling with a male friend who happens to have exceptionally long hair. At every single security line we went through, he was pulled aside, re-wanded and patted down. I believe that that there were probably a few things my friend could have done in order to minimize the number of times he was pulled aside. For example, worn a nice button-down shirt or suit jacket, and tied his hair back.

Luckily, most security inconveniences you experience won’t be this frequent, and there’s a lot you can do to streamline the journey from check-in to security to your gate.

Here are five tips that will only take a few minutes of prep time, but will save you untold hassles at the airport.

5 Tips for Getting through Airport Security Quickly

1. Spend a Little to Speed Up a Little

Do you fly frequently for business or pleasure? Consider signing up for one of the Department of Homeland Security’s trusted traveler programs. The programs cost between $50 and $122 for five-year memberships and helps expedite your screening and processing at participating airports.

2. Do Your Research

Did you know that you can’t wear gel shoe inserts or bring them in your carry-on? Some people remember to invest a few minutes in researching carry-on dimensions or weight limits for checked bags, but few think to check what is and what isn’t allowed through security.

Avoid holding up the line and having some of your possessions confiscated by looking up these do’s and don’ts ahead of time. You can even sign up for email alerts regarding changes to prohibited items. If there’s a do-not-carry-on item you simply have to take on your trip, simply pack it in your checked luggage instead.

5 Tips for Getting through Airport Security Quickly

3. Pick Your Travel Attire with Care

There are three key factors to keep in mind when dressing for air-travel: comfort, ease of removal and security optimization.

The first two factors are simple. First, you want to be comfortable during long lines and cramped flights. Comfortable shoes, temperature-appropriate layers and breathable, soft fabrics do the trick. Second, you don’t want to be the one to hold up the security line as you hop awkwardly on one foot, trying to remove tightly laced boots. Skip laces, buckles and snaps and opt for slip-on shoes. If you’re wearing layers, make sure they’re easy to remove. If possible, skip the belt and jewelry rather than waste time removing them.

The third factor is twofold. First, you want to be transparent. No, that doesn’t meaning arriving at the airport sporting a Lady Godiva or Emperor’s New Clothes look. It means dressing in a way that makes it clear you’re not a threat. You may love your baggy, floor-length black trench coat, but the airport may not be the place to wear it. Instead, wear clothes that fit you properly and make it clear you’re not trying to hide anything.

Second, you want to get through the metal detector in one go. Remember that your belt and jewelry may not be the only metal you’re wearing. Avoid metal embellishments or buttons on your shirts and jeans. Ladies? Watch out for that underwire.

5 Tips for Getting through Airport Security Quickly

4. Bag It Up

The right bags will do wonders to speed you through security.

Are you tired of having to remove your laptop before sending your bag through the conveyor belt? If you need to carry on your laptop, you should invest in a bag that is made to be checkpoint-friendly. CODi bags, for example, are made to lie flat, which means no fussing with your laptop.

Places like Target’s dollar spot or dollar stores are brimming with small, zip-up bags. Buy a few and use them to organize your carryon and streamline your experience.

Need to bring a few appropriately sized liquids? Corral them in one bag. Don’t want to go without jewelry? Place it in another bag and put it on after you’ve passed the metal detector.

By packing like items – especially security red-flags like liquids and metals – in small bags, you won’t even have to think about what to unload into the trays. No more checking your pockets and scrambling to remove items. Simply pull out your mini-bags and drop them in a tray.

5 Tips for Getting through Airport Security Quickly

5. Keep Your Documents in Hand

Before heading to the airport, take an extra moment to place your VIP documents, such as your boarding pass and ID, in an easy-to-access pocket of your purse or bag. As soon as you step into the check-in or security line, slip them out of that pocket and keep them in hand. Avoiding the frantic rummage will both save you time and earn the gratitude of other travelers and airport personnel.

Traveler programs, research, slip-on shoes, bags within bags, having your documents at hand: The key to speeding through security is avoiding disorganized scrambles. A little preplanning is all it takes to streamline your travel experience. It’s amazing how a few minutes of prep work can save untold amounts of time and frustration.

5 Tips for Getting through Airport Security Quickly photo credit: RyanMcGuire

About Kayla Matthews

Kayla MatthewsKayla Matthews is a writer and blogger who enjoys helping others get what they want out of life by being more creative and productive. To read more posts by Kayla, you can follow her on Google+, Twitter or at ProductivityTheory.com.

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