Streamline your security check point routine

If you travel quite a bit you have probably adjusted to the security screening process in the airport. The annoying routine has to get on one’s nerves, but if you prepare yourself in advance the whole process can be less of a headache. Here are some tips to make your security check easier:

Wear slip on shoes. Although I have been able to walk through some security screenings without removing my shoes, more often than not you must remove your shoes. Wearing shoes that easily slip off saves you time.

Follow the 3-1-1 guide. If you are traveling with a carry-on make sure to check out the TSA’s 3-1-1 for liquids and aerosols.

Prepare before entering. Rather than getting everything prepared while you snake through the line, get everything in order and then enter the roped labyrinth. Turn on your laptop, have your ID and boarding pass ready, throw unauthorized liquids away, etc.

Give yourself time. Rather than stressing about catching your flight while you wait in the security line, show up early if possible and don’t lose your cool.

Feel free to add your own tips in the comments section.

23 Comments for “Streamline your security check point routine”

  1. posted by Lee Wilson on

    A baggie or small zippered bag to hold your loose stuff (watch, money clip, change, pens, etc.) is a great help. Toss it all in there before you get in line and then empty it when you get out to the gate rather than when your stuff is coming off the belt. Less stress, faster through, etc.

    Also – if your line is long take a couple of minutes to scout other lines – you’d be suprised at how frequently one line is clogged and another just a couple of hundred yards away is wide open. Sometimes not – but worst case you only lose a couple of minutes.

  2. posted by Mike on

    Turn on your laptop? They haven’t asked that for ages.

    You do have to send it through in a bin by itself, but it doesn’t need to be turned on.

    Also, I find it much easier to just pack my liquids in Checked luggage (in bags of course). That way I don’t have to remember to pull it out, or risk have a bottle that’s too large.

  3. posted by Gordon on

    Carry as little as possible. I’ve started packing things like keys and whatnot, stuff I don’t need whilst in the airport, in my suitcase. My carry on items are minimal and, like Lee suggests, already bagged up.

    I’d also second the motion that, you are going to have to queue. No point losing your cool about it, it ain’t gonna change a thing.

    Ohh and do pay attention to the security staff. I’m pretty sure they find it as boring as we do, but they need to do their job, be friendly, courteous and pay attention to what they are saying. Smiling helps too..

  4. posted by Anne on

    Put your bags and other things through the conveyor belt in an order that makes sense. For example, put your laptop bag through, and then your laptop right after it. Send through anything you will put back on your body (such as a jacket) in front of anything you will carry over your shoulder. Etc.

  5. posted by Anne on

    I should also add, and I’m probably more paranoid than most people about losing my keys, but I treat my keys like prescription medicine–I would never put them in checked baggage.

  6. posted by Jenika on

    I can’t believe how long it took me to figure out that it’s just a lot easier to have nothing in your pockets when you go through an airport. I’m usually a pocket stuff fiend, but it’s worthwhile to stow all that stuff in an easily-accessible pocket in your carry-on, rather than dumping it into one of the small bins to send through the scanner separately, only to have to stuff them back into pockets on the other side.

    Avoid wearing a belt if possible, too.

  7. posted by missdona on

    When I go to the airport with my husband, I make him put his belt, keys and whatnot in one of the carry-on bags before doing the security thing. If I don’t, something will get left behind.

  8. posted by JH on

    I prefer to pack light enough to carry everything on. Avoiding lost or delayed luggage is worth the couple of minutes extra it takes to go through security with an extra bag. Also, I can leave the airport right after landing — no waiting around in baggage claim.

  9. posted by oneighturbo on

    i put all loose things into my carry on bag (watch, keys, wallet, etc) sometimes even my belt.. ill either untie my laces or even pull the shoes off way ahead of time.

    then after i can grab bag and walk away to a clear place or even gate to “reassemble”

    the ziplock is a good idea!

  10. posted by Betsbillabong on

    Agree with all the above posts. And if you are traveling with a laptop, my advice is to put that through last. That way you have a better way of being through security when it comes through. It scares me to have a $3000 laptop just sitting at the end of the line where practically no one is looking (or knows who it belongs to, for that matter).

  11. posted by Charlotte on

    If you’re a woman, try to remember not to wear an underwire bra that day. Depending on the level of hysteria they’ve induced in the staff, you can wind up getting wanded or patted down because it sets off the metal detector. (It also helps to refrain from muttering indignantly about giving up one’s civil rights to get on a plane. I’ve been sent to the penalty booth at my tiny home airport for “having an attitude”.)

  12. posted by Mike russell on

    Totally agree, I cannot understand why people are still taking their belt off right before they walk through the detector. Get your watch, keys, phone, wallet – everything that isn’t a ID and boarding pass – into your carry on and loose tie your shoes before you even get in line. Then it’s simply shoes, laptop, bag plop plop plop on the belt and you’re waiting to be waved through.

    Also I agree with the above poster, if you get pulled out of line and swept just be nice about it. No sense in getting out of control and calling people names.

  13. posted by Miriam on

    Minimize zippers (like a hoodie), and I’m seconding the non-underwire bra. There’s nothing suckier than getting felt up and yelled at* in a crowd. Unless you’re into that.

    *Many TSA workers I’ve met might unclutter their enunciation…

  14. posted by Me on

    Bollox. Those people are part of the problem, and deserve to be treated as such.

  15. posted by Frequent Flier on

    I would caution against getting your laptop and baggies out too early. At Oakland Airport this past Thanksgiving, the woman in front of me had pulled her laptop out in order to expedite the process. The TSA employee checking boarding passes made her put her laptop back in her bag because she had too many carry-on items (3 rather than 2), nevermind the huge line behind us and that the laptop clearly fit in her laptop bag.

    One thing that really annoys me is how the TSA employees let people who are “late” cut in line. One man who was allowed to cut in front of me was on my flight! He showed the employee the boarding time rather than the actual flight time. Please just plan to arrive early.

  16. posted by Ben on

    TSA is filth. I’d like to unclutter my life by getting rid of useless govornment agencies such as the TSA.

  17. posted by ChzPlz on

    don’t wear jeans with rivets or button flys. Put everything in your pockets, and your belt, into your carry on. Untie your shoes while you’re in line. Add those all up (plus some of the good stuff up above) and you fly right through and don’t have to get screened with the handheld metal detector.

  18. posted by Richard on

    Ben, you’re on to something there. Any advice on how to unclutter the government? There seems to be a huge amount of stuff there that we don’t really need. It’s untidy and a source of stress.

  19. posted by Babs on

    Go naked. It’ll prepare us for when our civil rights, dignity, and individuality are completely stripped from us.

  20. posted by beth on

    I always wear slip on shoes, and remove anything like a belt or change (really anything in my pockets) and place it in my carry on bag.

  21. posted by Tyler on

    I always make sure to wear a light jacket when I’m flying. It makes a good (clean) blanket for those over-air-conditioned flights, and I can also put all my loose items (wallet, keys, cell phone, coins, etc.) in its pockets so I’m not scraping them out of the bottom of the bin on the other side.

  22. posted by TeknoRaidr on

    I second the idea to put all small items (wallet, phone, keys) in my carry on bag. I wear slip on shoes or sandals. I put my boarding pass and ID in my pocket. I sequence my things through the xray machine – shoes first, then backpack, then laptop, then suitcase. That way I can put on my shoes while the other things are coming through and have my backpack ready to put the laptop in when it comes through.

  23. posted by jen on

    I also put all my various electronics and accessories (camera, ipod, laptop charger, etc) in a large ziploc bag – makes it easy for me to access on layovers as well as easy when going through security.

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