Every time you take this journey, this is the part you dread. It’s one of those things that you have to do in order to get where you are needing to go. You think that this torture will never end, but you see the light at the end of the tunnel. Then you see the TSA agent barely make eye contact with you and make an ever so slightly motion with their hand to come forward. I’m talking about getting through airport security. It’s probably the thing that travelers hate most about airports. While the process isn’t that pleasant, it’s a necessity to ensure everyone arrives at their destination safely. Next time you are stuck in the line, thinking about how you hope you don’t miss your flight, hopefully, you can incorporate these steps to make it easier for yourself and others to get through airport security.
The first step is to have your ID and boarding pass ready for the TSA agent. This seems like an “of course” step but I’m sure if you ask anyone, they have seen this happen or they have done it themselves once or twice. I always get mine out before I even get in line and hold it the entire time. I like to make sure I am prepared and also have anxiety about those types of things so this helps ease my mind. If you do wait to get out your ID and boarding pass ready, make sure to pay attention to the line and how much time you have until you get to the agent. I always use a mobile device for my boarding pass so if you also use this, make sure it is loaded and ready to go. You don’t want to be waiting on your phone to load with a sea of people behind you.
Another step you can do while you are waiting in line would be to double-check your pockets and take off any outer layers such as hoodies and coats. Like I said earlier, I get anxious about this kind of thing so I usually do this before I even get in line at security. You don’t want to be that person that tries to go through the metal detector and it goes off because of stuff in your pockets. Then, you hold up the line trying to empty your pockets as fast as possible. Also, you have enough things to worry about doing once the agent checks your ID and boarding pass but before you go through the metal detector. So by checking your pockets and taking off your jacket beforehand, you can help speed this process along.
You’ve heard them say it once, you’ve heard them say it a million times: Liquids can only be 3.4 oz in a carry-on and fit into a quart-sized clear bag. I have definitely had some blunders in this category, ranging from trying to bring full-size hairspray can in a carry-on to digging through my luggage to find the bag of toiletries. Some airports/agents are lenient, while others will inspect and toss out everything. Another thing about toiletries is that they have to come out of your bag in security. Again, some airports/agents have different times depending on how busy they are where they don’t ask you to do this, but you want to assume that they will need to see it. I like to stick the bag right on top in my suitcase, that way I can easily access it when needed. Or I have also stuck it in my purse, then after I get through security, I will put it in my suitcase.
I’m guessing by the number of people I have seen do this, that they are not aware of this step that many of us wish they would follow. One: please wear socks if you need to take your shoes off at security. I can’t imagine how many people’s dirty feet have walked on the floor through security. And two: wear shoes that are easy to take off. For example tennis or slip-on shoes. With these types of shoes, you can wear socks! Also, let’s say with boots or strappy sandals, you could take forever to take them off, then you are holding up the line.
One step that I hope everyone will take away from this is to pay attention to people in front of you. Follow their lead. This helps the line flow and will get you through it quicker. I’ve lost count of the people that were talking amongst themselves, not paying attention, and before they realized it, there were 30 feet between them and the next person. Now, this might not be as big of a deal while you are in the back of the line, but if you are one of the next few people, waiting to have your ID and boarding pass checked, you best be aware because you don’t want to be on a TSA agent’s bad side. And both of those still hold no comparison to being oblivious while trying to get to the metal detector. There is one objective you should be worried about when you get to this point: getting through security and not getting stopped. Everything else can wait.
You’ve made it to the airport with not a lot of time to spare. The security line is out of control. You feel like you have done all you can to speed up the process, but then you remember some steps that you read: you have your boarding pass and ID ready, nothing in your pockets, and no hoodie. You panic for a second but then remember your bag of toiletries was the last thing you packed, which means it is on top! Socks, check. Slip-on shoes, check. And as you check the last step off, you notice you are next in line. I hope these steps will help your next trip through airport security be a breeze!