Making airport security easy

For those not accustomed to the vagaries of airport security, getting from the ticket counter to the gate is extremely organized bagstressful. The people, the rush, the rules, pulling stuff out of your bag, the looooong lines, the general craziness….It’s a lot to expect non-frequent fliers to sail through airport security without a hitch. But don’t worry! Here are my tips to make going through security as easy as possible.

Pre-check is the way to go. If you are starting a job where you will be flying quarterly or more, TSA Pre-check is 100% worth it. You don’t have to take off your shoes or coat, take out your computer or liquids, and the line is typically much shorter. It almost always saves me a ton of time. Cost is $85 for five years. (If you will be traveling internationally even once a year, do Global Entry instead.)

Be ready. If you don’t have Pre-check, you’ll be going through the normal security line. These can be long in busy airports, so be sure to allocate plenty of time. It’s best to get all of your things ready before you get to the front of the line, so be sure your bag is organized! (pictured) Have your boarding pass and ID out and ready to show the TSO. Put your laptop and liquids bag in easily accessible locations. And make sure everything is out of your pocket—change, papers, hairbands—everything. Put small items in a pocket in your carryon.

Put your stuff in order. Once you are at the x-ray machine, put your items on the belt in an orderly way. I have found it’s best to put your shoes on the belt first, either in a bin or directly on the belt (whatever the TSO directs you to do), then your suitcase with the handle first, followed by your personal items, then your bins. This way you can easily pick everything up on the other side and…

Pick up your stuff and get out of the way. Once you are through the x-ray and body scanner, don’t try to get everything in order right there. If I’m wearing flats (which I pretty much always am except for the winter) I will drop them on the floor and step into them while I grab my suitcase and put it on the floor, extending the handle. Then I will grab my purse in one hand and my bins in the other hand. I grab my suitcase with my purse hand and take all of my things over to the nearby bench. Only then will I put my computer and liquids bag back in my bag, stack my purse on my suitcase, and put my shoes on if not flats.

Going through security may not be fast, but with these tips it will be as stress-free as possible.

Readers, any tips for making airport security easy?

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  1. Pre-check is absolutely wonderful, but remember that if you are traveling internationally, it is only good in the USA. If you have to connect, in Heathrow, for example, you will get the same (or worse) treatment as non pre-check people in the USA.

  2. Don’t forget to toss that half-gone bottle of water that is tucked into your bag.

    The dirty look the guy gives you is worse than the delay while he digs it out of your bag.

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