Best Tips for Faster, Easier Airport Security

People at the airport

Best tips for faster, easier airport security

Sometimes finding a good flight deal seems a lot easier than navigating airport security. The long lines, removing shoes, maybe even getting a pat-down by TSA officers; annoying, yes, but the worst part is how long it takes. Let’s speed things up with our best tips for faster, easier airport security experiences.

Arrive early

Get to the airport early: Arrive early so you’ll have plenty of time to make it through the line which is usually especially long during peak travel periods like summer, the U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Year’s. Here are what many airlines suggest.

Domestic flights: Arrive 2 hours early
International flights: Arrive 3 hours early

Don’t forget to factor in possible heavy traffic and crowded parking lots as you calculate when to leave home.

U.S. security rules

If you want faster, easier airport security, you have to know the TSA rules. The following applies to domestic U.S. travelers.

Small amounts of liquids only: Liquids in containers bigger than 3.4 ounces are banned.
Take electronics out: Kindles, gaming devices, tablets, laptops must come out of carry-ons.
Declutter bags: Keep cords neatly wrapped. Also, you may be asked to remove food from and powders (such as make-up) for bag inspections.
No weapons: No guns or knives in carry-ons, and that means no real ones or replicas.
Shoes off: Remove your shoes for the screening process.
No jokes: Do not joke about bombs, terror or similar. You will be detained.

Need extra help at security? Call the TSA Cares line (855) 787-2227 for assistance.

Security rules outside U.S.

Rules and regulations vary from country to country, so please check out the following sites for more information. If a nation isn’t listed, search ‘airport security’ and country name; airline and airport websites often have security information, too.

United States: Includes information on passports and conditions in other countries
Australia: Includes packing and screening advice
Canada: Includes everything from passenger rights to traveling with pets
European Union: Includes additional links to several countries
Mexico: Includes general information plus links to popular airports

Join PreCheck

For travelers on flights taking off within the U.S., we recommend joining the TSA PreCheck program. If generally offers a much faster security experience and this step-by-step PreCheck guide makes sign-up easy. It costs $85 but that’s good for a five-year membership and is truly money well-spent.

Last bit of advice: Stay calm and remain patient. Sometimes security takes a little longer than normal but just hang in there and console yourself with the thought you’re about to embark on a wonderful trip.

Anne McDermott
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