Pick up your stuff and get out of there!!

I talk about airport security a lot, but honestly it seems like the general population still needs a lot of help. There are a million things you can do to set up your stuff correctly so that you go through security efficiently (see recent post Security Refresh for step by step instructions). I know that all of my fabulous readers know how to get through the line with a minimum of fuss and without slowing anyone down, but just in case someone hasn’t heard this very important tip, here it is again.

Once you get through the metal detector or the body scanner, immediately go to the X-ray machine. Pick up your stuff, and grab your suitcase and briefcase. Then move out of the way, over to the benches, chairs, or tables set up specifically for the purpose of arranging your things. Then you can leisurely put your shoes and coat back on, put your laptop where it goes, and repack your liquids bag, without holding up the security line. It’s so simple!

You may be wondering what brought this on. Friday, when attempting to leave town, I was behind a business traveler. He seemed to have his stuff pretty well together, and got through the line rather quickly. But when he got to the other side, he stood there blocking access to the X-ray belt, while he put on his coat and put in his earbuds. I was speechless. The whole process took him several minutes, while my items were trying to come out of the machine and couldn’t. Oy.

Readers, what’s the strangest thing you’ve seen someone do when picking up their stuff in the security line?


  1. Slightly off topic, but I had a lady stop at the very beginning of the security chute at LGA. There was no one between her and the scanner, about 20 feet away and she was obviously a slow mover. My daughter and I passed her and threw our stuff on the belt and as we were taking our loafers off she screeched at us we should get in line. We ignored her, passed through the metal detector and had out loafers back on and bags in hand and the lady still had not finished loading her bins.

    She was on our flight and gave us the stink eye as she passed us on her way to the back of the plane.

    Come on lady, if you are going to be slow, don’t get mad when people pass you.

  2. I saw an elderly couple checking through security with full huge bottles of lotion and shampoo in their shopping tote carriers. I felt sorry for them not understading why they couldn’t take these through security. These were however not just regular size bottles but jumbo size bottles of bath supplies. wow!

  3. In theory it sounds reasonable, get your stuff off the belt and move to another area to put yourself back together. But frequently there is no table or chairs to do this, or there is one chair already occupied. I’ve been frustrated more than once trying to move out of the way, including being told by TSA that i cant use ‘their’ counter to put stuff onto before putting back into my pockets.

  4. This type of thing is annoying coming from people who really should know better but I think the fact of the matter is, most of this impedance is as a result of the inexperienced flyer. And there’s no way the inexperienced flyer is going to be as unflustered and smooth through this process as the more experienced traveler. My suggestion? Get over it. Show some compassion. Patience…etc.
    There are plenty of things we would be pretty inept at if it was our first time too and we’d be hoping those around us would be patient with us.
    But again, for those who should know better, all bets are off.

  5. The weirdest thing that has happened to me – and this has happened twice! – is that the man in front of me realizes, after his luggage/bins go into the x-ray machine, that he’s forgotten to remove his shoes, so he takes them off and places them on the item (my coat) in my bin!

  6. I’m so glad we don’t have to take our shoes off here in Australia, and the liquids rule is only in place for international flights. At worst, we just have to remove laptops from bags and pocket items and put our bags through. Most of the time when I fly, I put everything in my bag, close it, and it’s super quick!

  7. I think the strangest thing I’ve seen is the two women arguing over a pair of shoes… a close second was the man who was in such a hurry he picked up my backpack off the x-ray belt… The worst thing I witnessed at the security check point was the FBI agent who had a meltdown and screamed at the TSO “I AM AN AGENT OF THE FBI!!! YOU DON’T TOUCH ME!!!” And, yes, they let him thru…

  8. Mike,
    That was very rude of you! That lady may have been slow, but she was IN FRONT of you in line! What irks me more is people that don’t observe line etiquette.

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