Nobody likes security lines at the airport. It seems like every other day there is some new outrage over TSA and their “rules”. Since things aren’t likely to change anytime soon, it helps to work together to make the process less stressful and anger-inducing. Being prepared before you get in line should be your number one priority. Some of the best ways to ready yourself can be easy and also help other people in line, too.
Have your boarding pass and ID in-hand. You can’t get through security without these things, so have them ready to go when you step in line. The TSA agent will check to make sure your name and face matches to let you into Phase 2 of your wait. After you are approved to stand in line for the x-ray machine, you can put them away.
Put all your liquids and gels together. Sometimes you see people in line that make you wonder if they’ve never been to the airport before, because they look confused by the 3-1-1 rule and just have their shampoos and lotions thrown in their bag. While they are trying to dig everything out and argue about how they need their full-size conditioner, people in line are fuming. Make sure all your liquids – lotions, gels and creams included – are in a one-quart zip-top bag before you get to the airport. If you put it on the top of your carry-on, it’ll be easier to just toss in the security bin.
Make your laptop accessible. Large electronics are screened separately, so if you’re bringing a laptop or netbook, have it easily accessible in your bag, so you can pull it out and put it back fairly easily. You don’t want to be wrestling with it while you are also trying to take off your shoes and get change out of your pocket.
Empty your pockets. While Clever Travel Companion pieces aren’t a problem for normal security, it will be for those full-body scanners if you have anything in those pockets - so in that case empty also your hidden pockets. If you are only passing through regular metal detectors, just make sure you aren’t stashing coins or anything else that could set off the alarms. It’s easiest to put these items in a zip-top bag before you get up to the conveyor belt and toss it in your carry-on until you are through screening.
Wear comfortable shoes. You are going to have to remove them at the majority of airports you pass through, so try not to wear ones that will require a lot of extra work. If you can’t easily slip them on and off, think about wearing a different pair, because you will see people giving you the stink eye if it takes you 10 minutes to undo your laces.
These may seem like a lot of rules, but with a little practice, they can become second nature. Not only will you get through security as quickly as possible, the travelers around you will also be happy that you didn’t take forever so they can get on with their own trips. They may even learn a thing or two from you.