Why is it that when you arrive at the airport 2 hours early it takes five minutes to get through security, but if you arrive one hour early you’ll be waiting so long you miss your flight?
One of the worst parts of the airport experience is the dreaded security check line. Ideally, the line would move steadily and there would be no backlogs.
Unfortunately, many travelers, especially those who are not frequent fliers, do not do any research in advance of airport tips and are not prepared to go through airport security.
After 9/11, airport security measures in the United States tightened and many new rules and regulations were put into place. People try to bring all sorts of prohibited items through security and ruin it for everyone.
Don’t be that person.
Keep reading for some tips to get through airport security as quickly and smoothly as possible.
1. Keep Your Documents at the Ready
The first thing you will need to do when you get to the security checkpoint is present your ID and your boarding pass.
This might be your state issued ID, drivers license, or passport. Your boarding pass will either be printed out or on your phone if you use the airline’s phone app.
It should be common sense to have these items out and ready to go, but you would be surprised how many people seem shocked when asked to produce them.
Airports can be stressful and it can be tempting to shove your boarding pass or ID in your wallet after you check in so you can handle your luggage more easily. However, you are going to need your documents right away, so it’s best to keep them out.
If you have a mobile boarding pass, use the virtual wallet or passbook on your phone to access it easily.
2. Be Prepared to Unpack
Be aware of what you can and cannot bring on the plane and know what you need to declare and unpack for security to approve.
If you bring any liquids onto the plane, they must be 3 oz or less, and they must be placed in a 1 quart bag. You will need to be prepared to remove this bag at the security checkpoint, as they will ask if you have any liquids.
You can bring travel sized products or put small amounts of your regular products in clear bottles with labels. You should use a clear plastic bag.
Put this bag in the outer pocket of your carry-on bag or purse so it is easy to get out.
You will also need to remove your laptop from your bag and place it in a bin by itself to be x-rayed. You can purchase special laptop bags that are TSA friendly and can be scanned without being removed from the bag.
If you bring medications, bring the original bottles with your name and prescription information.
3. Check Extras
Many travelers have the habit of bringing electronics on board with them instead of checking them. They will often be forced to check them at the gate due to the lack of space on airplanes.
These people hold up security lines and boarding lines. If you are bringing electronics that you don’t need during the flight, check them to save yourself and your fellow passengers time.
You will have to remove all large electronic items from cases and place them each in a separate bin to be scanned. Electronic cases and accessories will need to be scanned as well.
Familiarize yourself with carry-on restrictions and be considerate of your fellow travelers by checking what you don’t absolutely need on the plane.
4. Consider Expedited Services
If you travel often, consider enrolling in your airline’s expedited security line services.
These are tailored to upgraded or first-class passengers, but the higher price tag is worth the time saved, especially if you are a business traveler fighting the morning rush.
U.S. citizens are eligible to join the Global Entry Program to get through customs more quickly. If you are flying through Denver or Orlando in the U.S., there is a program called Clear that allows you to skip security.
You can also look into the TSA Precheck program.
5. Choose the Right Line
Short security lines are not necessarily fast lines.
Take a look at the actual people in line rather than the length of the line. Businessmen and women move through security lines much more quickly than parents with children or tourist groups.
Lines on the far right or left usually move more quickly than the middle lanes. That’s because inexperienced travelers tend to walk straight ahead and into the middle lines.
6. Dress for Success
When planning vacation trips or business trips, what you choose to wear to the airport can make a big difference in your commute.
You know you are going to have to remove your shoes, so consider wearing slip-ons. Since you will have to walk without shoes on the floor of a busy airport, wear socks as well.
Remove all metal items including jewelry, belts, and things like cell phones and coats and place them in your carry-on bag or purse. You can put these accessories on after you get through security.
Taking them off before you enter is a waste of time and can be stressful under the pressure of a busy airport and stern TSA agents.
These are only a few of our best airport tips. The number one way to get through security more quickly is to be prepared and plan ahead.
Trust us, you don’t want to be the passenger that holds up the line and causes someone to miss their flight.
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