Getting through airport security – pronto!
Our travelers come from all over the world. That means air travel is often a must.
One of the things that can foul-up an otherwise good airborne trip is the delay and stress of airport security, if you come unprepared. Getting to the security line late or poorly prepared can result in a missed flight or a sweaty, tense last-second boarding. It can also cause delays for your fellow travelers who are also attempting to move swiftly through security scanners.
No one wants that, whether traveling for business or pleasure. So we encourage our guests and would-be guests to take certain steps and precautions to make their movements through security details at airports as smooth and stress-free as possible.
To that end, take these steps – from the Transportation Security Administration and other travel advice sites – to ensure that you’re able to pass through airport security with the fewest hassles.
- Arrive on time. What’s on time? That varies by airline, time of day and whether you’re traveling domestically or internationally. Check with the air carrier for a recommended arrival time.
- Documents at the ready. Make sure to have your boarding pass, photo ID or passport in hand when arriving at the security checkpoint.
- Wear slip-on shoes. This allows you to remove and replace your shoes quickly without the need to sit down, or to look like you’re break-dancing while trying to balance on one leg.
- Pets. They must be removed from their carriers and the carriers sent through the X-ray machine. Hold your pet in your arms and proceed through the metal detector.
- Children. Please take infants and children out of baby carriers and strollers and take them through the metal detector. Strollers and baby carriers go through the X-ray machine with your bags. If possible, collapse the stroller before arriving at the metal detector. (Get more information about traveling with children from the Transportation Security Administration by clicking here.)
- Use cautious language. Inappropriate statements or jokes will get travelers pulled from security lines and questioned.
- Pay special attention to electronics. When possible, do not pack oversized electronics (laptops, full-size video game consoles, DVD players and video cameras that use cassettes) in carry-on baggage. If you do, understand that these items must be removed from carry-on bags and submitted separately for X-ray screening. Click here for checkpoint friendly laptop bag procedures. Small electronics, such as iPods, can remain in carry-on baggage.
- Pack wisely. When packing your carry-on luggage, it is important to layer your items. A neat layer of clothing, electronics, more clothing, and then any heavier items makes it easier for the X-ray technician to see your items properly. If you throw everything together in one bag without separating them, even the most innocent item, like a cell phone or MP3 player, can look like a possible threat. It’s also good to pack all coats and jackets in checked baggage when possible. All coats and jackets must go through the X-ray machine for inspection.
- Be transparent. Prepare a one-quart-sized clear, plastic, zip-top bag of liquids before arriving at the airport. For more information about the TSA’s rules regarding carry-on liquids, click here.
- Do not wrap gifts. If a security officer needs to inspect a package, they may have to unwrap the gift.
- Not too much metal. Avoid wearing clothing, jewelry and accessories that contain metal. Metal items may set off the alarm on the metal detector.
- Body Piercings. Certain metal body piercings may cause the machines to alarm, which will result in additional screening. If additional screening is required, passengers may be asked to remove their body piercing in private as an alternative to the pat-down search.
- Carry your film. Still haven’t switched to digital photography? Put any undeveloped film and cameras containing film in your carry-on baggage. Checked baggage screening equipment will damage undeveloped film.
- Avoid hats and head coverings. Flightster.com says studies have shown that people in hats (and presumably head coverings of all types) get targeted by TSA for “enhanced screening” more often than not. Travelers are permitted to wear hats, head coverings and religious garments during the screening process, but they may be directed to additional screening if the headwear or clothing (religious or otherwise) is loose fitting or large enough to hide prohibited items.
- No drinks. Do bring drinks or other liquids to the security checkpoint unless they are in paper or polystyrene (e.g., Styrofoam), sealed or seal-able/spill-proof containers.
- No food. Do not bring food to the security checkpoint unless it is wrapped or in a container. Unpeeled natural foods like fruit are okay.
Stay off the phone. Refrain from cell phone use while going through security. This will allow you to pay full attention to the officers’ requests and the environment around you.
- One carry-on. Baggage is limited to one carry-on bag, plus one personal item. Personal items include laptops, purses, small backpacks, briefcases or camera cases.
- When in doubt, leave it out. Unsure if an item is prohibited or not? Travelers should place those items in their checked baggage or leave the item at home. Click here to see the list of prohibited items.
We hope that taking these steps will ensure that you have a safe, stress-free and enjoyable flight.
Written by Mike Consol