How to Breeze Through Airport Security

by Country Inns & Suites
Thursday, May 2, 2013

Airport Terminal Sign

Air travel, while often being the quickest and most efficient form of travel, has its own set of difficulties and delays. From long lines to specific security guidelines, getting to your gate can take longer than expected. We’ve provided a few simple tips that will help you shorten the time you spend in the security line so you can get to your gate with plenty of time to spare.

1. Keep your boarding pass and identification on hand

When entering the security line, the first things you will be asked for are your boarding pass and ID. Have both of these documents in hand when entering the security line so you don’t hold anyone up while rifling through your belongings to find them. You should also store both documents in an easily accessible (but secure) place for the duration of your trip, as you’ll often need them beyond the security checkpoint.

2. Dress like a travel pro

One thing that slows down many travelers is the type of clothing they wear to the airport. Security requires that you remove jewelry, belts, jackets, and shoes to pass through the security checkpoint. To make the process easier on yourself, dress smart. Wear minimal to no jewelry and shoes that slip on and off easily. You may need to wear a jacket or belt, but you can still quickly get through security by removing these items as you get to the conveyer belt. Keeping your clothing simple will also prevent you from holding up the line while you put all of your items back on.

3. Know the rules for carry-on liquids and have them easily accessible

The TSA has strict rules for liquids that are allowed in carry-on luggage. If you’re unfamiliar with the 3-1-1 rule, it allows one passenger to carry on one quart-sized bag of liquids, with each liquid contained in a bottle that is 3.4 ounces or less. Your bag of liquids must be removed from your luggage and scanned separately through the x-ray machine. When packing for your trip, place your bag of liquids in a location that will be easily accessible when you get to security – whether it’s in a front pocket of your suitcase or packed in your laptop bag. It is also important to note that some exceptions to the 3-1-1 rule can be carried on in larger quantities, including medications, baby formula, and breast milk. Passengers must declare these items at the checkpoint and should be prepared for additional security screening.

4. Avoid packing prohibited items

The TSA has a long list of items that are not allowed in your carry-on luggage, from high volumes of liquids and sharp objects to certain sporting goods and tools. You can check out the TSA’s Prohibited Items list if you’re unsure whether something is allowed or not. Making sure that your luggage does not contain any of these items will help you get through security faster and prevent you from having to throw away some of your belongings in order to pass the checkpoint.

5. Know how to pack electronics

Certain electronics, most notably laptop computers, must be placed in a security bin by themselves when going through the security scanner. Pack your laptop in a place where it will be easily accessible when it’s your turn to put your belongings on the conveyer belt, such as in a pocket of your suitcase or in the laptop bag you’re carrying as your personal item. You can also purchase a checkpoint-friendly laptop bag, which allows you to keep your laptop in its bag when going through security.

6. Choose the best security line for you

Some airports have security lines specifically for first class passengers, while others may be segmented based on what type of traveler you are, such as lines for expert travelers and those for families or people who are carrying medical liquids over the 3.4-ounce limit. Choosing the line that fits your travel type best will not only help you get through security faster, but will benefit other travelers as well.

Are you an expert at navigating through airport security? Share your tips and tricks in the comments below.