This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that we will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase. All opinions are those of the author.
Getting through airport security is a hassle. You stand in line for what feels like a century, you have to basically unpack your suitcase, and you be “randomly” pay down. Even if you don’t have TSA Precheck, or you are going through security at an airport outside of the United States, there are ways to make your airport security screening process smoother and quicker.
Have your ID and boarding pass ready
I roll my eyes when someone waits until the security guard to pull out their wallet, or to open up their app to get their boarding pass. You are doing nothing while standing in line. Get your identification out ahead of time, and don’t pack your boarding pass away.
If you are displaying your boarding pass on your phone, make sure that your brightness setting is set to the max so that the scanners can read your phone. Have the app loaded and ready to go.
With my mobile boarding pass, I may have issues opening the pass if I am connected to the airport’s wifi from a past trip, but have not signed in yet. Your phone will be trying to connect to wifi while in line, and refuse to load your boarding pass. Try turning off your phone’s wifi and see if your boarding pass loads faster. You can also take a screenshot of your boarding pass to use, before you leave for the airport.
Think twice about what you packed
You cannot bring filled water bottles through security. Before you get into the airport security line, think for 30 seconds about what you packed, and if it is security compliant. Throw out your drinks before getting in line. Consider if you packed anything that may not be allowed. If you are not sure if something can go through airport security, you can contact the @tsa twitter account or instagram to check if your item is compliant.
View this post on Instagram
If you think these scissors will cut your travel time through the checkpoint, you’ve got the wrong idea. … Please don’t get snippy when our officers tell you that you can’t pack these ginormous ceremonial ribbon cutting scissors in your carry-on. … These were discovered in a carry-on bag at the Nashville International Airport (BNA). And it wasn’t by “shear” luck that our officers discovered them. They’re huge. To paraphrase Douglas Adams, these scissors were big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big they were. … However, scroll to the next picture and you’ll see a run of the mill regular pair of sewing scissors. These are allowed. At one point, all scissors were prohibited, but for the last 10-years or so, scissors have been permitted as long as they are no longer than 4-inches from the fulcrum. This picture is a screenshot of a tweet that was sent to our AskTSA team. … Speaking of the AskTSA team, have you ever wondered whether or not you can pack a certain item? If you’re a regular follower of this account, I’m sure you can think of many situations where it would have behooved somebody to send us a picture first. Well, fret no more! Now you can do just that! … Simply snap a picture and tweet it to AskTSA (twitter.com/asktsa), or send it via Facebook Messenger (facebook.com/asktsa) and our team will get back to you promptly with an answer. … And that’s not all! Contact the team about any TSA related issue or question you might have. They can even help you if you don’t see TSA Pre✓® on your boarding pass. … The team looks forward to answering your questions, 9am-7pm daily. #AskTSA #TSATravelTips #TSA … #PSA – While it’s ok to pack scissors, you should never, ever run with them.
Leave your suitcase unlocked
If you have a lock on your carry-on suitcase, leave it unlocked until you are on the other side of security. You may have to remove your toiletries or laptop. If the security agent needs to inspect your bag for any reason, it is easier if your suitcase is unlocked ahead of time. We are cutting down as much time as possible – you don’t want to hold up the security line by spending 30 seconds entering a combination or searching for your suitcase key.
Tip: I usually lock my suitcase one digit away. For example, if my combination was 123, I will lock my suitcase at 223. This keeps my bag locked but makes it quick and easy to unlock before security.
Wear a security-friendly outfit
Try to avoid wearing clothes that you will have to remove, such as boots with metal or chunky jewelry. Remove your coat while you are standing in line, prior to getting past the first security guard. Wear slip on shoes that do not take a lot of effort to remove. Empty your pockets into your carry-on while you are standing in line.
When I am traveling for work, if I am going straight to the client site I will be wearing business professional clothes. I typically do wear heels, and I know ahead of time that my heels will set off the metal detectors in the TSA Precheck line. If you are worried your shoes might set off the detectors, go ahead and take them off in order to not slow down the line.
Pack your bags with airport security in mind
Keep your liquids near the top of your suitcase and within easy reach. Avoid burying your laptop beneath too many objects or cables. Have a pocket where you can quickly stuff your phone and boarding pass.
Be aware that if you are carrying a lot of cables or camera equipment, your bag may need additional screening. You may want to pack some of these items in your checked bag instead, as long as they are not fragile.
Airport security is a pain for everyone involved, but there are ways to make your journey through security smoother. If you are traveling to a new country, definitely look up the airport security rules ahead of time to see how they differ from your home airport. You will be going through security on your way home, so be prepared for different regulations.
Traveling for work? Also check out:
- How to Choose an Airline Alliance
- Get Delayed Luggage Reimbursed
- Tips for your First Work Trip
- Is TSA Precheck worth it?