The only thing worse than having to strip down in the airport is having to do it knowing there is a line of people waiting behind you heaving impatient sighs and wondering why it’s taking you so long to get your Anti theft handbag and your laptop out of its case. On one particularly nightmarish flying experience, I was left with no choice but to wear all of my clothing and stow my belongings into every available pocket. Standing at security with no fewer than six layers on, all I could do was glance apologetically and hope that delaying the long line of people behind me while I emptied my pockets of converters, change, and miscellaneous toiletries wasn’t going to rack up too many bad karma points. To avoid that situation always read the fine print on baggage allowances and be sure to follow these tips to expedite security and make your flying experience run a little smoother.
Minimize the Accessories
I’m not saying you can’t wear jewelry, sunglasses, a watch, or a belt. I’m just saying you might want to tone it down or take everything off before you get in line and are juggling your bags, ticket, and various other items while trying to move as quickly as possible toward the metal detector.
I know looking good in the airport is important, but I think we should all be required to wear slip-ons because I’m always getting stuck behind some lady with ridiculously complicated boots that she has to struggle to get on and off. Being able to kick off your shoes without messing with zippers, laces, or lots of tugging will make life easier for you and for everyone in line behind you.
Having a well organized carry-on bag makes a huge difference. Invest in one that has plenty of pockets and organizers. I’m notorious for having all sorts of random objects in my bag. They usually spend some time sorting through it. Go through your purse or carry-on from time to time and clear out all unnecessary junk. Especially batteries (Does anyone even use those anymore?). Have your passport and ticket stowed somewhere safe, but accessible. Your pocket does not fall under that category. The WalletSafe and the PouchSafe are designed for this exact purpose.
For some strange reason I am incapable of arriving at an airport any less than three hours before my flight leaves. Otherwise I start getting nervous. Whether you share my irrational fear or not, arriving two-three hours (depending on whether the flight is domestic or international) before your flight is always a good idea to ensure you have plenty of time to get through security.
Know the Rules
Despite the fact that we’ve had a lot of these regulations in place for years, there always seems to be some poor traveler begging the airport security personnel not to throw out the 40 dollar hair gel they accidentally left in their carry-on. It happens to the best of us, but try not to be that person who is completely caught off guard by the request not to bring knives on board or to have all toiletries in 3 oz form and stowed in a ziplock plastic bag. If you don’t know the drill, do a quick Google search to review airport security rules.
I know it’s tempting to pull the “Oh, you know, just this bomb” joke when airport security personnel ask you if you have anything hazardous in your luggage, but try to resist the temptation. Nobody will be laughing when you hold things up because they have to pull you aside and search your belongings.
Practice Makes Perfect
After enough travel, you’ll take on the air of an expert. Be sure to assume a bored and nonchalant expression as you move through the line. The real pros hardly have any carry-on luggage, their laptops slip easily out of their suitcase, there’s nothing in their pockets, and they somehow manage to kick off their shoes and throw their belongings on the conveyor belt in one swift motion. Aspire to that.