There are a few inevitable things in life: death, taxes and getting caught behind the slooooowest person in line for airport security.
Although you can’t control the lady in front of you with three children under four, a diaper bag, a stroller and six car seats, there are some quick tricks to get you through the checkpoint and on your way. In the meantime, be patient with those moms and all the other casual travelers who take it slow, not everyone has it down to a science.
Use these ideas to speed up your next TSA screening (Transportation Security Administration) in the US. Other countries have differing standard practices, but these general tips will serve you well. Be sure to check out the website for international airlines, as some do not allow any liquids and others have no restriction on shampoo at all.
While the TSA agents might not greet you with the warmth of your best friend, you should still get friendly with their website: TSA.gov.
The convenient search engine on the right side called “When I Fly Can I Bring My…?” will save you postage on mailing things to yourself or throwing away a precious souvenir. Often passengers contact airlines with questions about bringing this or that. Before calling or emailing your carrier, check the TSA website to see if the item in question is allowed. Then use the airline’s website for dimensions.
Be sure to lean on the site as a resource if you’re traveling with a pet, art or anything unusual.
As they scan your bags, the agents glance at the contents for anything alarming or dense. As simple as it sounds, pack neatly and there’s less to see. By coiling cords instead of wadding, they are easily identified. Same goes for neatly folding or rolling clothes as well as separating other irregular items.
If you’ve flown in the last 14 years, you know the 3-1-1 rule for liquids, etc.: 3.4oz per container, all in 1 quart-sized bag, 1 bag per passenger. Pack that little plastic bag on an outside pocket of your suitcase or backpack for easy access. Nothing makes me cringe like watching someone unzip their luggage and rifle through unmentionables to find that cursed ziplock.
If you travel with a laptop, keep it reachable. It needs its own bin for the scanner.
Before leaving home, double check that none of your everyday items are prohibited on the plane. Commonly confiscated items, like pocketknives, pepper spray and small tools, need to be unpacked. I recommend following TSA on Instagram to see all the wild things they find as well as their service dogs. Click to continue…