Few travelers like the TSA and it seems a good majority of people make a frowny face when airport security procedures are mentioned. The hard truth is that being herded through a line like cattle, having your belongings (not always so) meticulously scrutinized and being patted down or x-rayed is what has to happen if you want to get on a plane and go anywhere you can’t reach easily by car.
Since most of us do not have two weeks to waste just driving to and from our destination – or access to a submarine – we are resigned to wait in line and just try to not get annoyed that we have to take off our shoes and belts and jewelry. Personally, I view security as the adventure before my adventure. Will the line be long? Will I get stuck behind someone who doesn’t get their ID out before they get to the desk? Will my bag get chosen for a random search?
If you just want it over with as quickly as possible, here are some tips to avoid getting the evil eye from fellow travelers.
Have your ID and boarding pass in-hand. Everyone audibly groans when the people in front are rifling through their bag for these important documents. You know they want to see it to prove that you are who you say you are and also that you have an actual flight. Pull them out before you get in line and make it easier on you and everyone else.
Get your 3-1-1 bag out. Once you have been identified, you can put those things away. While you are stashing them, pull out your 3-1-1 bag full of liquids, so you are not digging through your bag for that next. You do not have one, you say? That is worse than not having it ready to throw in the security bin. Round up all your liquid/gel/paste before you leave home (or at least before you get in the security line) and be prepared. They are not going to let you through without doing this important step.
Wear shoes that easily slip on and off. Yes, those lace-up boots look great with your outfit, but they are not practical and are going to take a year to get off. Pack them in your bag if you must, but wear some flats or sneakers on the plane. Besides being quick at security, they will not cut off the circulation in your legs during your flight. Try to avoid wearing flip flops or other shoes that do not allow socks. You see how many people go through security. You probably do not want all those germs on the bottom of your feet.
Empty your pockets. Anything that could possibly be in your pockets is banned through the scanner, even a tissue. I try to keep a zip-top bag handy for anything that might trigger the metal detector, too. Throw your phone, change, movie ticket stubs, watch, lip balm and ladies’ phone numbers into it, so all your important things are together and do not have to be chased around the plastic bin. Everyone behind you will be glad they do not have to wait for you and you can put everything back where it belongs when you are not blocking the way to the terminals.
Make sure your laptop is easily accessible. This is yet another thing they make you take out of your bag to scan through the x-ray machine. I am not sure what they are looking for, but not having to wrestle your computer in and out of your bag is always a plus. I mean, you already have to put your bag of liquids away and put your shoes back on, while collecting your other belongings and getting the heck out of everyone’s way.
A smile never hurt anyone either, so greet everyone with one and soon you will notice the mood around you lift a bit. Those poor agents do not want to frisk you anymore than you want to be frisked and they deal with grumpy people all day long, so try to be cheerful and brighten up their day a little and start your vacation off on the right foot.
About the Author
Shereen Rayle is author of the blog Shereen Travels Cheap and two budget travel books, including Secrets to Summer Savings. For years she has been planning her own vacations using the Internet to extend her limited budget as far as possible and shares the tips and tricks she has learned, along with useful sites like FareCompare.com, to help others get the most out of their travel dollars. And to further inspire budget travelers everywhere, she finds terrific travel bargains and posts them each day on her Facebook page.