Security at airports is a necessary evil. It’s a pain to have you and your belongings scrutinized, but it beats having a maniac cause chaos while you’re in the air. By following some basic tips and adhering to international standards you can minimize the hassle and make getting through security a little bit quicker for you and those behind you.
The majority of airports permit you to have liquids in your carry-on so long as they are in a quart-sized bag and the containers must be no bigger than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters. Anything bigger or if it won’t fit in the quart-sized bag are better off in your checked luggage. You can find travel-sized containers that meet these standards online or in many stores. (Here are Amazon’s most recommended and versatile travel size containers) Liquids include aerosols, gels, cream and pastes. Powders should always go in your luggage.
A tip for saving yourself time in security is to keep your liquids bag somewhere easy to grab like the top part of your carry-on or in a purse or backpack. Security will have you remove it and scan it separately so having it easy to grab saves you some time.
Typically, airlines have no problem with you bringing your electronics on the plane, there was a brief restriction on laptops coming into the US in 2017 which is why you should always double check with the airline or the standards set forth by the country you are traveling to. But in most cases having your laptop and other electronic devices are fine.
Like your liquids bag these items are scanned separately from your carry-on so having them somewhere convenient and easy to reach will save you time when pulling them out. I’d also recommend turning these devices off, especially your phone, so they don’t cause any distractions and you won’t be tempted to use them while going through security.
Clothing and Other Accessories
With the new imaging technology in airports the things you can and can’t wear are slowly getting more lenient. For example, many airports no longer require passengers to take off their shoes when going through security, but this is not always the case in less developed countries that may not have this technology.
So, to avoid any potential hassle and save time in case you are required to take things off I recommend that your belt, shoes, jewelry, watches, hats, and other accessories are all either easy to take off or kept in your carry-on (except shoes, you’ll need those on) and then worn after security.
Avoid having anything in your pockets as you’ll be asked to remove those items, and there’s nothing worse then having to fish for loose change in your pocket with people waiting behind you.
You will be asked for these multiple times in the airport, not just security. It makes sense to keep these somewhere you wont worry about losing them but are easily available to present to anyone who asks for them. A few more seconds can be shaved off by having your ticket stuck inside your passport next to the identification page.
It should be a no brainer that you shouldn’t have weapons of any kind with you when checking through security. Unless you have special permissions or exemptions you will have these items taken from you by security and more then likely subjected to additional screening.
If you’re traveling with a gun, knife, or other such item check the laws of the country you’re traveling to and have them either shipped or in your checked luggage.
Be Organized and Informed
To ensure you don’t have any hang-ups going through security it’s a good idea to prepare the day before your trip by having your luggage packed and organized. Making sure your items follow the standards and the items needing to be removed are easy to access saves you a lot of time and hassle.
On the off chance that you are randomly selected for additional screening it’s a life saver to have your bags packed in such a way that you can easily repack it. I’ve seen people that have their carry-ons so crammed with stuff that when security goes through their items they have to spend several minutes figuring out how to repack it.
In the end it’s important to recognize that security lines are often long and tedious as many people don’t pay attention to the instructions given or haven’t properly prepared. So give yourself plenty of time, follow the advice above and be patient. The security personnel aren’t out to get anyone or be a pain they’re simply ensuring that your flight is safe and secure.
Please note that this article was written following TSA standards and using personal experience. You should always be checking regulations and restrictions on any of your flights and looking at the rules put forth by the country your traveling from and to, things get updated and countries change their policies all the time.
If you have more questions about what you can or can’t bring or simply need more detailed information, then visit the TSA’s site: https://www.tsa.gov/travel
Author: Benjamin Baker
After serving abroad in a religious capacity for two years Ben has felt the pull to travel and explore ever since. This desire was further fueled by his wife Maddie and the two have traveled to many places over the last few years. Ben’s hope is that by sharing his knowledge and experiences obtained while traveling that others can improve their lives and the lives of others through travel. Check out additional articles written by Benjamin.