Airport Security (insert a disdainful quiver here)
Let’s talk about everyone’s favorite topic…AIRPORT SECURITY! Look, don’t roll your eyes at me. LoL. You know you just LOVE airport security. Okay, I know. Airport Security is probably the WORST topic ever and I bet you get airport anxiety just thinking about it. I mean, talk about a snooze fest. I practically fall asleep going through it for real, why on earth would I want to read about it on the internet?
Yeah, I agree. Not the most riveting topic on the planet (it’s no cage diving with Great White Sharks, that’s for sure). But it’s a necessary evil of travel because the reality is, if you want to travel, you are going to have to deal with airport security. It’d like death and taxes, it’s just an annoying part of life. So why not make it as easy as humanly possible and check out some of these tips so that you can Survive Airport Security, Like a Boss.
1. BE NICE!
So simple and easy, in theory. But a lot of times, people let the stresses
of travel ruin their mood,, and guess who they take it out on? Usually the poor airport staff who have nothing to do with their foul mood. Nor do these people have anything to do with the INSANE number of hoops that we all have to jump through as a result of current airport security procedures. Therefore, you really shouldn’t take your anger out on the airport staff. It’s not their fault that the check in line is so long.
Plus, believe it or not, they actually have souls and lives just like the rest of us. So try and treat them with kindness and respect, and you will be surprised at how quickly you can pass through security. I mean, you can try being nasty, but just remember that these people have the power to make your life very difficult. They can even schedule a full body cavity search., if they decree it necessary. So save yourself the hassle and just be the lovely human being that I know you are.
2. Dress for Success
Cheesy I know. A total cliche but it is so true here. I mean, come on, you know you’re going to have to take your shoes off, so don’t be that man or woman who has knee high, lace up shoes that take 20 minutes to take off. If you do this, everyone will smite you with their eyes and will wish a plague of frogs upon your house. Okay, maybe not the frog thing because that does sound rather Biblical, but you get the idea. Everyone will hate you.
Instead of the lace up shoes, try to wear a jacket with big pockets so that once you’re through with security, you can quickly and easily throw your phone, wallet and passport in your pocket, before grabbing the rest of your stuff. Also wear shoes that you can quickly put on and easily take off (FYI: you don’t have to take all of your jewelry off. Many people leave their watches on and still make it through the metal detector).
3. Fly at Off-Peak Times
This one is pretty obvious but worth mentioning. If you fly at peak times, like holidays, then guess what? The security line is going to have about 10,000 people in it and you’re gonna feel like Old Man River by the time you get through. Do yourself a favor and don’t test your waning patience. Avoid booking flights at peak times, like on Fridays, between 4pm and 8pm.
These times are nightmares for security because weekend travelers are departing and business travelers are coming home. Book flights at off-peak times and not only will the security line be shorter, but you’ll probably save money on the flight as well.
4. Check your Bag
Okay, I know. Checking your bag is annoying. I mean, who wants to wait at baggage claim for two hours, just to find out that their luggage has been lost before their trip even begins? Sounds like a complete nightmare to me. But with carry on luggage requirements continually changing, it can be difficult to know how to pack your carry on bag (I mean, who knows if you’ll be able to bring your tablet, laptop, or camera in your caryon anymore).
This type of confusion can lead to security delays that waste a lot of time. Not to mention the checked bag fees that now have many people using carryons, a tendency that only makes security lines longer. Save yourself the carryon drama and check your bag. You can even avoid those checked bag fees by signing up for a credit card that offers free checked baggage (I know..Checking bags is awful, but it’s a necessary evil).
5. There’s an App for that
Look, I am not a techie by any stretch of the imagination. So must of the time I’m kind of like, “Seriously? Why do you need an app for that?” I mean, nowadays it seems like there is an app for cats who ran away from home and need to find a dog to live with. Seriously, how many of these apps are actually useful? Well, I actually do use Miflight and Gateguru, and I swear, no one paid me to say that. These apps basically just help you monitor security wait times so that you can make a better decision about when you
should leave for the airport. This is like the one time where I am in awe of how much easier technology makes my life. The rest of the time, people’s Facebook photos leave me feeling rather inadequate (Just kidding. Actually, only partially).
6. Know the Routine
Look, I know the carry on rules are a little up in the air right now (super bad pun), so this can be a bit tricky. But, you can always check the TSA website if you are unsure of current carry on guidelines (i.e. laptops, cameras, and tablets possibly being banned from carryons). Otherwise, make sure you know the rules and pack accordingly so that you can get in, get out, and go home.
This means that laptops must be removed from their cases and placed in their own bin. Also make sure that any liquids in your carry on bag are in a clear plastic bag.. If there’s a bottle with liquid in your bag it’ll have to be re-screened, making the security process THAT much longer. To avoid being re-screened, just pack according to the rules and you will only have to go through security once. After you’ve made it past the metal detectors of doom, quickly and efficiently collect your Belongings and redress away from the screening area. You don’t want to be
away from the screening area. You don’t want to be “that guy” who takes up the entire waiting area just to put one funky contact back in his eye (which always takes forever when you’re waiting). Yeah, everyone hates that guy so just try and be considerate, at least a little bit. It won’t hurt too much.
7. Be a Baller
If you have a trust fund or your own island nation, you can get through security more quickly, simply by paying them (Don’t you just love capitalism?). Flying a premium class, getting CLEAR expedited security, or obtaining airline elite status are all ways that you can basically buy your way through security. I’m poor so I don’t really know too much about any of these programs, but I have heard that they are a great way to shorten your interminable stay in airport security.
8. Have your ID and Boarding Pass at the Ready
There is nothing WORSE than someone who gets to the front of the security line and then starts riffling through their things for all the documents they need. It’s like they somehow never thought they would actually get to the from of the line and are now surprised to be there. Just don’t be that person. Instead, pack everything into your carryon except your ID and boarding pass. This way, by the time you get to the front of the security line, you will ready to quickly and easily fly through the metal detector.
9. Mental Inventory (Making a list, checking it twice…)
Before entering security, take a mental inventory of what you’ll need to do once you reach the front of the line. Inventory everything you are wearing that will need to be removed (shoes, jewelry, watch, jacket), and prepare yourself to do so. Also think of all the items that are stored in your carry on that will need to be removed for inspection (liquids, large electronics). This way, once you get t0 the front of the line, you can quickly and easily place all these items on the conveyor belt and essentially zoom past security.
10. Sign Up for TSA’s Precheck
If you are a member of this program, you are prescreened and can whiz through security without taking off your shoes or even removing your laptop from it’s case. The U.S. Customs Department also has a Global Entry program which is another shortcut for frequent international travelers, who want to get through customs and immigration much more quickly. So if you have the time and money, both of these programs can work in tandem to make your life a whole lot easier.