The recent mysterious disappearance of Malaysian airliner MH370 has brought security issues into sharp focus. Airport security is the “necessary evil” you have to deal with every time you take a flight. You have to go through a barrage of security checks to certify you safe for flight.
From full body scans to x-ray scans, there is no running from security. It can be time consuming and a hassle at times. Today we explore steps you can take to make your walks through airport security a breeze.
1) Dress for the Occasion
Post 9/11, everything going through airports is scrutinized. This includes your clothes. For faster processing, wear something light. Heavy jackets and coats have to go through x-ray scanners and delay your progress. Opt for shoes without shoelaces. You have to remove them for scanning thus something easily removable will do. Avoid any metal objects and if you can’t do without them, opt for few pieces. These include jewelery, watches, rings, piercings, bracelets etc. They can’t go through the metal scanner, you have to remove them. The fewer you have the easier it will be.
2) Pack Smart
Your bags, carry-on or checked have to be scanned or manually inspected airport security. Pack light. This will save you inspection time. Don’t stack up items. Don’t over load items into bags. You might have to remove them at the counter or watch them riffled through by security officials. Don’t pack liquids. If you do, follow the recommended 3-1-1 TSA regulations on liquids. 3.4 ounce (100ml) bottle or less (by volume); 1 quart-sized in a clear, plastic, zip-top bag. This will expedite your security screening.
You can check here for an additional list of prohibited items and guidelines.
3) Get Your Documents Ready
Have your government issued photo identification ready and in an easily accessible place. If you are traveling abroad, have your passport ready and ensure its up to date. Carry your boarding pass along with your official documents and produce them whenever they are requested. They will be inspected at different points, ensure you have the right documents.
4) Laptop? Check!
You will need to travel with your laptop often. Especially if you are a business traveler. Laptops can delay your progress through airport security unless you prepare adequately for them.
- Be prepared to prove ownership to customs especially if traveling abroad.
- Carry the necessary documentation to prove ownership and payment of relevant customs.
- Boot the laptop and put it into sleep mode. You maybe required to show its working.
- Carry the laptop with you at all times. Don’t put it into checked luggage.
- Protect it from screening machines. If possible, request manual inspection.
- Have the laptop outside the carry case when you are on the security screening line.
5) Get an Airline Miles Credit Card
An airline miles credit card enables you to earn points/miles from traveling or transacting on it. Airline miles programs also have other perks such as easy upgrades on flights, preferential treatment etc. Among these perks is speedier check-ins and expedited security checks at most airports. This is especially true for frequent fliers who have achieved an elite status level. You can easily reach elite status through loyalty to your program and exploiting any opportunity to acquire bonus miles.
With the right travel bonus credit card program, your airport security woes maybe history!
6) Sign Up for TSA Pre
According to the TSA website, “TSA Pre✓™ allows low-risk travelers to experience faster, more efficient screening at participating U.S. airport checkpoints for domestic and international travel.” Basically, PreCheck allows you expedited security checks at most airports. Other benefits include shorter wait times, shorter lines and improved customer experience. As an added bonus, PreCheck participants don’t have to remove their shoes or belts for inspection. There are no guarantees however. Even when accepted into the program, you may still be subjected to random airport security checks. That said, it beats waiting at the line.
You can check your eligibility here.
7) Traveling With Kids? Prepare Them
Kids can be a major source of snarl-ups at airport security lines. They don’t have to be. You can get them ready and pass through security before you can say Bo! Just follow these simple steps:-
- Carry toddlers in small collapsible strollers. This makes it easy to bundle it onto the X-ray belt.
- Dress your kids for the occasion. They have to go through the scanner with you. Avoid metal objects.
- Baby formula is allowed. Pack it in removal ready kits.
- Practice with the kids at home. Get them used to the idea.
- Arrive earlier. Let the kids get used to airport bustle and relax as they watch airplanes take off.
8) Pack Checked Bags Right
Pack your checked bags light. They have to be inspected, manually at times. Don’t use padlocks to secure them since they will be broken. Opt for non-locking fasteners. Only bring what is necessary and pack valuables separately; never in checked bags. Don’t stack books or documents into bags, arrange them neatly and leave enough room for airport security officials to check them through.
9) Bring a Self-Addressed Envelope
Chances are that one of your items might get flagged; even when you have taken all the precautions. The self-addressed and stamped envelope comes in handy here. You can mail the item back home. Otherwise, you have to fore-go it and risk never seeing it again. Always travel with a couple of self-addressed envelopes in case of these unforeseen events.
10) Ask Nicely!
You will be surprised with how fast you can clear airport security if you just ask! Security officials are human, and travelers too. They understand the hassle you have to go through. If you just ask nicely and follow directions, you just might get bumped to a faster security lane. You might be granted an expedited process!
There you have it. Airport security is necessary for our safety at airports and aboard flights. It helps prevent possible disasters and mishaps. As demonstrated, you don’t have to hassle your way through security. With prior planning and taking a few key steps, you can breeze through airport security and spare time to appreciate the crucial role the security officials play.
What other tricks do you use to speed through airport security checks? Please share in the comments!