Getting through airport security

One of the most stressful parts of air travel for many people is airport security. The lines, the rules, the frayed tempers, the rush, go toobthe fear of doing something wrong… It’s a lot to worry about, especially if you are a new business traveler! Here are a few tips to help you fly through it like a veteran road warrior.

Have your bag organized. When packing the night before, make sure all of the stuff that will need to come out during security is easily accessed. This is generally your laptop and liquids bag, plus your photo ID. All liquids need to be in containers 3.4 oz or less, inside a quart-sized clear plastic bag.

Get prepared in line. Have your ID and boarding pass ready to hand to the TSO before you’re at the front. Go ahead and move anything in your pockets to your bag. And I mean anything! One time I had to undergo additional screening because of a hairband in my pocket. So coins, tissues, candy, etc. (Put it in your bag so you don’t have to pick individual items out of your bin at the end.) The Home Warrior likes to go ahead and take his belt off at this point, but only do this if your pants will stay up without it!

Manage your bins. Once you get past the TSO and you are in line to be screened, put your laptop in a bin by itself and your liquids bag in another. Take off your shoes and put them either in the bin with the liquids bag, or directly on the belt (as specified by the TSO). Then put your coat on top of your shoes. I like to put my things in the following order: suitcase with handle first, bin with shoes, bin with computer, purse. FYI: You don’t need to take off rings or glasses, but may need to take off your watch. Put it in your bag.

Grab your stuff! After going through screening, grab your stuff and get out of the way. Please, please don’t hold up the line putting things back in your pockets. I put my things in a certain order because it makes it easy to grab my suitcase and get it out of the way, drop my shoes on the floor and slip them on, stack my bins on top of each other, pick up my purse, and get to the benches.

It’s a stressful environment that amps up anxiety, even in experienced fliers. The main thing is to be prepared ahead of time, get through, and move out of the way. Take a deep breath. You don’t need to be a security pro for your first business trip, but after you get a few times under your belt it will be no big deal. Ask questions for anything you’re not sure about, and above all have patience. You’ve got this!

Readers, any tips for making airport security easier for first time business travelers?


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  1. Global Entry is a MUST for any business traveler. Not only does it give you domestic TSA Precheck, but it speeds up re-entry from travel abroad. Not having to remove my belt and shoes and pull my laptop out also saves time.

    At $100, that’s only $20 per year over the 5 years – which I have more than saved in time and frustration alone. Best of all, the application fee is reimbursed through Amex Platinum.

  2. If the TSA is going to inconvenience me my essentially making me strip for their security theater, then they have to deal with me getting dressed again while in line. The only way the system will change is through civil disobedience.

    BTW, I fly over 150K miles a year, mostly internationally. I second the comments about GE. It does nothing if you have a direct international flight, but it works like a charm in the US.

  3. We all have lots of power cables for phones, laptops and other electronics. I suggest you put them in a ziplock bag and put them in the bin as well. I was sent to secondary in that I had them all in my suitcase bundled up and they wanted to take a closer look as to what they were. I know strange, but it happened. So now I do the above. Cheers

  4. I’ll second Global Entry! We got it with our Amex platinum cards but since we didn’t get it for our kids (and I don’t travel much without them) the pre-check was the best!

    Yesterday I took a flight with my one and two year old while daddy stayed home to work. Pre-check was like magic. The line was shorter, I didn’t have to juggle the kids and my shoes and our liquids. Seriously, I don’t know how I traveled alone with the two of them before!

    Also, practice helps with the nerves.

  5. before i was TSA pre, or if not available, i put SHOES in 1st bin. they are first to come out, and i have them back on by the time briefcase bag comes thru, then rollerboard, computer last, then it spends the least time w/o me – i put computer in last, and by the time it comes thru i have shoes back on, coat on, brief bag ready open for computer, liquids.

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