One of my good friends is absolutely terrified of airport security, so it got me thinking there may be others out there who feel the same. I thought I’d write a post about my tips to make getting through security a breeze.
Know ahead of time what you can bring on board. Banned items from TSA: knives, firearms or anything that looks like a firearm even if it’s a replica, paintball guns, power tools, any sporting equipment that is in the shape of a club or stick, dry ice. If you are questioning items, its better safe then sorry, by the time you are going through security its too late to throw things in your checked bags.
Put your small liquids in a resealable bag. You are allowed to have a one litre resealable bag. If you are like me you have no idea what size that actually is so here are some approximate measurements: 15.24cm x 22.86 or 20cm x 17.5cm. Each container must be 100ml or less and everything must be able to fit in the bag.
Pay attention to what people are doing in front of you, not all airports require you to take your shoes off. As a self diagnosed germaphobe, any opportunity to not walk around with no shoes in a public place is okay by me. Also sometimes it depends on what kind of shoes you are wearing, so I will always politely ask the agent before I take mine off. If you are wearing something time consuming to take off then you may as well save the people behind you annoyance and take them off early.
Remove coats and sweaters. This is a personal pet peeve of mine. I feel like people just stand there in line watching everyone ahead of them strip down and yet are surprised when they are asked to do the same. And then they always seem to take forever getting their coats off. Anyways, that’s my personal issue and I am dealing with it. I just don’t understand why you are wearing a winter coat inside anyways… okay rant over now. Moving on…
Take your electronics out of your bag. This is another one of those watch what others are doing, some agents don’t seem to want iPads out, but others do. Every agent seems to want laptops out of your carry on though.
Avoid bringing odd things in your carry on: My mom (Travelling Stef as you know her better) has a lot of experience in this department. She seems to have a knack for picking out odd shaped things as gifts for our family members who live in Germany. The one instance that always comes to mind is a metal rooster ornament. The agent was very puzzled about the roosters comb. She also had a bottle that was made of pottery that formed a very suspicious shape on the scanner.
No cheese: I have heard different opinions on this. I will tell you the story of my heartbreak and you can make your own decision. I live in Canada, a land known for many things; beautiful mountains, free healthcare and expensive cheese. So whenever I have a short flight home from the USA I end up bringing back cheese with me. My friends, fellow experienced travellers and cheese importers, told me that they always bring it in their carry on. Here I am, leaving Las Vegas, going through security and I realize with horror that it’s my bag that’s holding up the line. The agent asked me what I had packed in my carry on, and of course I promptly forgot that I had cheese in there. Finally we establish that my cheese is the issue. Turns out because it is so solid they can’t see through it when they scan so they don’t know if there are hidden objects in it. I had a friendly agent so she asked me why I was bringing it home, so I told her how much we pay for cheese. She was horrified, but unwilling to budge on letting me keep it. I thought about eating it on the spot but made probably the smarter, yet significantly more depressing, call to have it thrown out. Frustratingly, I found out from my friends who left Vegas later that SAME day that they were allowed to keep their cheese. From then on, I have checked my cheese and have not had to cry further over lost cheese. I still think about that poor innocent block of cheese frequently.
Remove everything from your pockets, take off your belt. A friend of mine always complains that security picks on her every time she goes anywhere. It confused me because I usually breeze through. I understood after picking her up from the airport one time. She dresses to the nines. All decked out in all of her jewellery and wearing a belt. Like I said in my post about long haul flights, I dress for comfort when I fly so I’ve never had this issue. If you want to be fancy that’s cool, but be prepared to take it all off and place it in the trays before walking through the scanner.
If the airport has 3D scanners, be careful not to move in them. Even knowing this I somehow always end up moving while I’m getting scanned which has lead to more pat downs in recent years than I’ve ever gotten before.
If you or your bag gets selected because they see something or just a random search, stay calm and polite. They are just doing their job for everyone’s safety. I know its annoying sometimes when you are running late for your flight, but getting upset won’t help speed up the process. I have missed flights before due to a hold up with security, it is super frustrating, but the airline was understanding and got me on the next flight at no cost to me.
Hope this helps you not to stress about passing through airport security! If you are still stressed why not hit up that airport bar on the other side and have a bevie before your flight.