One of the unavoidable hassles of flying is dealing with airport security. But if you know what to expect and you arrive at the airport prepared, you can get through the security line with ease.
For the first-time traveler, here is our post on what you need to know about airport security so you can breeze by and get on to your trip of a lifetime!
Packing for airport security
You will have to take certain things out of your luggage in order to go through the security line, so it saves time if you pack with this in mind.
- Liquids: All liquids in your carry-on luggage need to be 100ml/3.4 ounces or less, and all bottles must fit into a one quart/one liter zip-top bag. Pack this bag towards the top of your luggage or in an easy-to-access pocket so you can take it out quickly.
- Laptop: Store your laptop where you can easily slide it out before going through the security line and easily put it away afterwards.
- Other electronics: It doesn’t happen every time, but at some airports the security officials will ask you to remove tablets, Kindles or other e-readers, and sometimes other electronics like external hard drives. Make sure they are accessible in case you do have to take these out of your luggage.
Before you leave for the airport, make sure you’re not carrying any prohibited items. No weapons, sharp objects, or anything that could pass as a weapon. Even your nail scissors should be left at home or in your checked luggage.
Remember that liquid containers above 100ml/3.4 ounces are prohibited, even if the bottle is almost empty. You are allowed to bring an empty water bottle to fill up once you’ve passed security.
Airport security is no laughing matter
Security officials are there to keep you safe. They have to take things seriously, which means a seemingly obvious joke will be taken seriously. Don’t make jokes about bombs or terrorists or guns or anything else really.
At the airport
Have your ID and boarding pass ready when you approach the security line. Once the official checks your ID and boarding pass, put them back in your luggage.
Aside from taking your liquids bag and laptop out of your luggage, there are a few other things you have to do at airport security. In the US and many other countries, you have to take off your shoes before going through the security line. (This may vary depending on the destination you’re flying to or even the type of shoes you’re wearing.) Also, remove your belt, anything you have in your pockets, and anything metal like a watch. If you’re wearing a jacket, take that off as well.
Use the plastic bins provided to hold your belongings. Typically your laptop gets its own bin. Put your shoes, liquids bag, and anything else you have removed from your luggage or pockets in another bin. Don’t stack things on top of each other though, so you might need additional bins depending on how much stuff you have.
Scanners vary by location. In some airports, you might simply walk through a metal detector while at others you will stand in a full body scanner. Once you get through this part, gather your belongings as quickly as possible, and move out of the way to nearby tables or chairs to repack your bag. I try to send the bin with my shoes in it through the x-ray first, that way I can slip my shoes back on while the rest of my stuff is still coming through the conveyor belt.
By following these tips for getting through airport security, you’ll be on your way to enjoying your trip quickly and hopefully without much hassle. Do you have any other advice for dealing with airport security?