Listen up people. It’s time to talk about getting through security at airports. Yes 9/11 was almost 13 years ago, yet y’all still seem to have a hard time understanding how to navigate an airport and get through security. For frequent travellers, it’s a breeze, but the rest of you clearly need some tips and advice.
- While packing, if you know you have checked baggage, automatically put all your liquids, creams and gels into that checked bag. You don’t need them in your carry-on. No exceptions!
- Get to the airport early and be organized. If you’re travelling internationally, pre-print all your flight itineraries, hotel confirmations, transportation details, and other travel documents. Keep them in an easy-to-access place in your carry on, just in case you need them at customs.
- Never follow someone through an airport, assuming they are going to the same place that you want to go. Always read the overhead signs, they’ll clearly point you in the direction you’re headed, whether it’s to security, the washroom, your boarding gate or the baggage carousel.
- When going through security, remember, laptops get their own bin, and in a separate bin place everything else. This includes your wallets, keys, jewelry, belt, passport, shoes, jacket, etc. Knowing you have to put all this stuff into a bin, prepare as you approach your designated security lane. It should be a fast, smooth, and efficient process. No one wants to wait for you because you have to untie your shoes and remove your belt before you go through the metal detector.
- For efficiency, if you have multiple bags and bins, place your miscellaneous bin first, followed by your laptop, and then other bags. When you get to the other side to claim your items, you can be putting on your belt, your jacket and placing items back in your pockets while the rest of your bags clear the x-ray machine.
- As you move down the security line, have your boarding pass ready to present to the security agent. They need to validate your boarding pass before your items are x-rayed. Take your boarding pass with you to the metal detector.
- Be efficient in the metal detector line-up. Make eye contact with the TSA members, and be ready to pass through when you’re called. You should not be having conversations while in line. Just be quite and proceed in an orderly fashion.
- As soon as your through the metal detector, move to the conveyor to begin collecting your items. Be as fast as possible, and remove roller bags and backpacks from the conveyor as they come out. This makes room for the bins and bags of other guests behind you, so they don’t have to wait as long. If you have footwear that needs to be laced up, grab all your items and move to an area away from the conveyor belt.
- If you’re going through customs, have your passport out with your boarding pass tucked into the photo ID page. Have your travel information clearly memorized – where you are going, your return date, where you are staying and the purpose of your trip. There’s no need to be nervous. Customs officials may ask additional questions and have the right to search any and all items you’re bringing into the country, including bags, laptops and cell phones. This also includes random swabbing of any articles to test for drugs.
- Note the boarding time of your flight. Go directly for security / customs to your boarding gate. Confirm the boarding time, flight number and destination. It could have changed from the time you check in at the airport to the time you arrived at the gate. Once you have confirmed, then, if you have time, you can go get duty free (if applicable), a coffee, snack, or charge your phone.
- When boarding, listen to the agents. They will call out the boarding of the flight in a prescriptive order. In the US, first and business class board first, and then economy class is boarded, first by window seat numbers, then middle seats, and finally aisle seats. For instance, if you’re in board group 3, you’re in economy window, and if you’re in board group 5, you’re in economy aisle. Don’t mess with the system! If an aisle passenger boards early, they’ll just have to get up to let the person in who has the window and middle seat, which makes it longer to board the aircraft, and honestly, we all just want to get there faster, so board by group please!
What are your pet peeves or advice for air travel? Leave your thoughts and comments below.