Part 2 of the Top Tips For Trouble Free Travel Series
Finally! Your travel day is here. Time to load up the bags and get to the airport. But before you go, have you best prepared yourself to run the airport security gauntlet? One of the more stressful parts of air travel is navigating the sometimes daunting, sometimes overwhelming, airport security check points.
However, careful planning and strategically packed carry-ons can help minimize the angst that airport security screening processes often cause. So before you fly again, arm yourself with these twelve tips for trouble free navigation of airport security check points.
Before Leaving for the Airport
These four trouble free travel tips to get you out the door and on your way to a more expedient and less stressful navigation of airport security check points.
1. Follow the 3-1-1 Carry-On Rule for Liquids
Packing liquids into your carry-on bag? Make sure they comply with the 3-1-1 for Carry-Ons rules of no more than 3.4 ounces per liquid, all placed into a 1-quart sized clear zip lock bag. Remember, only one bag for each person.
2. Organize Carry-Ons To Be “Security Ready”
A well organized carry-on bag helps expedite the security screening process. Pack carry-on bags for easy access to items that will require removal. Place required travel documents (boarding passes, passports, photo ID’s) and 3-1-1 liquid bags into easily accessible pockets, and separated from other items in your carry-on. You don’t want to be dumping stuff out of your bag in search of that passport!
Tip: Don’t pack TSA Prohibited Items in your carry-on bag or you might find yourself off to the side for a “one-on-one” security check.
3. Wear “Security Ready” Clothing
Plan your airport wardrobe accordingly. Wearing the right clothing can save time and agony. Ask yourself – will I need to remove this item at security? If the answer is yes, or even maybe, then don’t wear that item. Except shoes. You still need to wear shoes.
Skip other items like belts, chunky jewelry, and clothing with lots of metal adornments that will most likely require removal. Consider wearing slip-on shoes. Don’t wear shoes with zippers, ties and buckles that require complicated removal.
“Security Ready” the kids too. Dress them in similar fashion as yourself. Oh, and make sure their pockets are empty! As innocent as a small pocket knife may be in your son’s pants pocket, it is still a prohibited item and might be confiscated. Trust me – I know!
4. Check Flight Status and Departure Gate
Check both flight gate and departure status. If you are not familiar with the airport, download an airport map to your mobile device or print a copy to bring with you.
Bags packed, flights confirmed, all dressed and ready to go. Time to get this trip on the road. Next stop – the airport and that dreaded airport security line.
Navigating The Airport Security Check Point
Armed with a well organized carry-on bag and outfitted in “security ready” garb goes a long way towards a less stressful, more successful security check point. So will these eight tips. Nobody wants to miss their flight, nor encounter the unpleasant situation of being rescanned or taken aside for a “one-to-one” security check.
1. Allow Sufficient Time For Check Point Delays
Arrive with plenty of time to clear security. Things happen. Long lines happen. Especially if you are flying out of a mega-hub or during peak flying times. Allow ample time for security check points and avoid the mad dash sprint to your departure gate.
Nothing is worse than cutting time short, only to be stuck in a tediously long security line, watching time tick closer to your flight departure.
2. Be Prepared With Required Travel Documents
As you approach the beginning of the security line, have your travel documents (boarding passes, passports, photo ID’s) already in hand. The process will go more smoothly and quickly if you aren’t digging through your bags at the last minute to find them.
3. Know Which Items Require A Separate Scan
Know before the security check point which items will require removal from either your person or your carry-on bags. It will expedite the security process. Items most likely requiring removal include:
- Shoes, belts, coins in pockets, cell phones, watches and large chunky jewelry.
- Jackets and coats, sweatshirts too!
- Laptops, unless in a TSA approved computer bag.
- Liquids – hopefully following the 3-1-1-Carry-ons rule!
Oh, and if you’ve locked your carry-on bag, consider unlocking it for the security check. Don’t loose time scrambling for keys or combinations if the security agent pulls your bag for a “hands-on” bag check.
4. Prepare The Kids and Their Gear Too
Traveling with children in strollers? Plan ahead! Both the kids and their gear will need to be removed from strollers at the security check point.
If traveling with two adults and more than one child, consider splitting up the job. One takes the kids through security while the other manages the gear.
5. Inform Agents of Special Security Needs
Inform the security agent if you have a metallic prosthesis, metal implants, a pacemaker, or other disability or medical condition that could impact your security check. Passengers with disabilities, medical conditions or prosthetic devices may require a specific security screening process.
6. The Shortest Line Isn’t Always the Fastest
Choose lines with business travelers. Lines with lots of families and strollers tend to bog down as parents navigate their kids and strollers through the check point.
Seek out a security check point with shorter lines, even if it is further from your gate. You will make up the extra distance to your gate by clearing security more quickly.
7. Put Your Mobile Phone to Work
Have a mobile phone? Put it to work! Navigating airport security wait times and airport delays via mobile apps can quite possibly save you both time and aggravation. Knowing which lines are moving faster than others can be the difference between an easy security check point or a disastrous one.
8. Be Patient! Smile! Be Nice!
And most of all, don’t loose your temper. The security agents are just doing their job, which is to protect all air travelers. Irritating them or challenging their scans or bag searches isn’t going to get you through that line any faster. As they say, you get more flies with honey than vinegar!
Suggestion: If at risk of missing your flight, calmly explain the situation to a security agent. They might be able to help.
Bon Voyage – Happy Travels!
Cleared security? Great! One big airport hurdle completed. Time to head on over to your gate. However, before doing so, here’s one more suggestion:
Recheck Flight Gate and Status! Gates change and flight delays happen in the blink of an eye. Or in the time you’ve been standing in a security line. Double check departure gates and flight times to ensure you are heading in the correct direction with time to spare.
Do you have an airport security tip to share? Let us know in the Comments section below.
Other posts in the Top Tips for Trouble Free Travel:
- Before You Board That Next Flight
- Your Flight’s Been Cancelled – Now What?!
- You’ve Arrived! Don’t Let Jet Lag Slow You Down