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How Can I Get Through Airport Security Easily?

Don’t wear body piercings through airport security.
Since the 2001 terror attacks, airport security personnel have a far more visible presence, particularly at the security gates in large airports.
Unapproved locks may make going through airport security more of a hassle.
Making sure that any packed liquids meet requirements ahead of time can ease the security screening process.
Prepare for the security checkpoint ahead of time.
It's best to take out earrings before going through security.
Article Details
  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 09 October 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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Travelers today can plan on facing quite a bit of hassle when they plan to fly. To many, the biggest time waster, or the thing they most worry about, is how to get through airport security easily. There are actually a number of tips and strategies you can use to move through security checkpoints quickly, without holding up everyone else. More importantly, if you follow these tips, you’re less likely to be stopped by employees of the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) or similar companies in other countries. If you fly without heeding the rules, expect much higher scrutiny from the TSA.

First off, to get through airport security easily, you need to know the rules. These can be subject to change, likely with tightening restrictions. If you haven’t flown in a while, get familiar with what items are banned and how things need to be packed in order to avoid being stopped or having to give up items. Recent changes include tightening rules on flying with anything in liquid or gel form.

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All liquids and gels must be packed in containers three ounces (.089 liters) or less, and they all must be in the same plastic bag. Plan ahead and pack these small items in no larger than a quart size bag. Better yet, bring only what is necessary. Purchase deodorant, toothpaste, shampoo, and the like after your flight and not before it. If you must bring liquid prescription medications along, bring a prescription for any of these medications, and be sure to declare them before you hit check-in. Don’t place them in the same quart size bag if they are larger than three ounces.

Another tip to get through airport security easily is to make certain you aren’t wearing a lot of items that will set off metal detectors. Remove all jewelry, with the exception of wedding or engagement rings, which are easily seen. Don’t wear body piercings, especially if these are in unseen places. Skip toe rings, necklaces, multiple earrings and bracelets.

If you plan to wear a belt, try to find one without a metal buckle, or at least remove the belt before you get to the front of the line. Avoid clothing with metal rivets and metal buttons. Try wearing very simple non-bulky clothing and don’t layer clothing if you can avoid it or you may end up having to take off layers.

As you’re waiting in line, remove your jacket before it’s your turn, and take off your shoes too. Wear slip on shoes with socks to avoid picking up any nasty foot fungi, and to avoid having to untie shoes. Remember certain items will always be checked, which include:

  • Boarding pass and/or ticket
  • Identification
  • Any items in your pockets (keys, cell phones)
  • Laptops
  • PDAs

To make sure you get through airport security easily, have your laptop in an easily accessible place and make sure it has enough power to turn on. Similarly, keep your cell phone, pager, or any other communications or PDA devices together so they can all be turned on and inspected quickly. Keep your ID and ticket handy in one pocket or in a shallow purse. Alternately, a fanny pack is a good place to store these. Try to remove anything you don’t need from pockets.

If you feel strongly about having locks on your luggage, then purchase TSA locks. TSA agents can easily open these. If your luggage is locked with an unapproved lock, you risk having that lock cut off. Also identify your luggage by writing your name and phone number on each piece. This keeps you from accidentally picking up someone else’s luggage, and is a signal to agents that you are only carrying your own luggage.

Lastly, your attitude can help you get through airport security easily or at least easier. Do not be resentful, hostile or threatening to security agents. Never joke, insinuate, hint at, or in anyway mention anything about airplanes blowing up, terrorists or bombs. Remember TSA agents are there to do a job, and to keep you safe. They’re not at fault if you make their jobs harder by placing things like laptops at the bottom of your luggage, or not complying with gel and liquid requirements. Finally, arrive two hours in advance of your flight so you have time to get through security lines without seeming urgent, harassed or annoyed because you may miss your flight.

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Discuss this Article

anon325296
Post 6

I wear a wig. Will I have to take it off for airport security? I would find this embarrassing.

anon324888
Post 5

Wow, "People from Saudi Arabia were waved right through"? Imagine the horror! Next time, try not to be a jerk and you'll be fine. Keep in mind, not everyone with brown skin is a terrorist. Maybe they were pleasant while you were an agitated, entitled, typical American.

anon314822
Post 4

I'm done flying. I'm a slight, middle aged white man with a disability. The last time I went through airport security, I was treated like a criminal while folks from Saudi Arabia were waved through.

I don't need this crap when I'm traveling to visit my mother in a nursing home. I'll be driving next time. Also, the TSA steals and nobody seems to care or be able to do anything about it.

anon262474
Post 3

I disagree that airport security is there to keep us safe. Most of them treat passengers as though they are criminals or guilty of some sort of crime.

I don't feel any safer because of these restrictions and I would still travel even if they weren't in place. If it's my destiny to die that way, so be it.

I do struggle to accept the way we give up our civil liberties so easily in order to "feel safe".

anon114000
Post 2

This is up to date information provided in the blog. For a long time I have been looking for such posts. Thanks to the person who has written this.

somerset
Post 1

When I go through the security, there is another issue that adds to the whole rushed experience, and that is lack of space to pull yourself together after you have removed your shoes, emptied your pockets, removed the laptop from the bag, and all the other things you are required to do.

Well it seems somebody is planning on changing all of that and make it easier for the passengers.

I read that at the Milwaukee airport, there will be additional comfort space provided for the passengers to organize themselves. Hopefully other airports will follow suit.

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