Breeze Through Airport Security

Know the airport security rules and adhere to them strictly

At least a day before travelling, review the airport’s layout by visiting its website. Some airports offer quick curbside check-in (tip required), and some airports have more than one security checkpoint to choose from. Being familiar with the pedestrian traffic pattern will keep you moving and save time.

Pack carry-on liquids according to TSA rules. All carry-on liquid containers should be 3 oz., or smaller, and they should all fit inside one, one-quart zip-top bag. Take this zip-top bag out of your carry on and allow it to be x-rayed separately from your luggage. This process helps the TSA clear your items faster.

Thinking ahead when it comes to metal. Pack your jewellery, keys, pocket change and cell phones inside carry-on baggage before you reach the line.

Wrap up electronic cords in an orderly way. The x-ray scanner may flag a jumble of wires inside your suitcase for closer investigation.

Using a TSA-recognized lock on your luggage.

Tap your business card to the bottom of your laptop, and be prepared to take the computer out of its case.

Ship any gifts before your departure or wrap them at your destination.

Keep your I.D. handy throughout.

Empty your pockets. Keys, phones, loose change, and any other mystery items you have in your pockets will have to be removed in order to pass through security.

According to the TSA, only lighters without fuel are permitted in checked baggage unless you place them in a “DOT-approved case.”

Before you leave for the airport, put your ID, credit card and boarding pass (if applicable) in an easily accessible part of your wallet or bag. There are two reasons for this: one, by going through this exercise, you make sure that you don’t leave home without these crucial items. Two, you don’t waste your (and other people’s) time fumbling around for them at the moment you need them.

Buy liquid or gel cosmetics products of any size inside the terminal, once you have passed through the security checkpoint. You can take cosmetics and other items you buy within the secure area of the airline terminal on board the plane without further screening.

What not to wear

Tough to remove shoes: Forgo wearing any shoes that take a long time to unbuckle or unlace. Slip-on shoes make for a speedy walk through — and don’t forget to sport clean socks.

Clothes with metal studs or buttons: Unless you want everyone in line to see your undershirt choose a different top.

Metal jewellery: Metal rings, necklaces, bracelets, cufflinks, watches and pins can all set off the walk-through metal detector. If you can’t leave home without them, just stick them in your carry-on or checked bag before reaching the conveyor belt.

Belts and buckles: Metal prongs, eyelets and buckles on belts will also need to be removed – so wear pants that actually fit.

Loose-fitting clothing: TSA officers don’t know what you might be hiding underneath those bulky sweaters and baggy jeans.

Gel shoe inserts: They are not permitted, so save yourself the hassle and put your inserts in your checked baggage.

Coats and jackets: All coats and jackets have to go through the X-ray machine, so be prepared to remove your layers.

Pre-pay for faster security

If you’re an elite miles member with one of the major airlines, you may qualify to take part in the TSA’s precheck program, a new, invitation-only programme that allows travellers to breeze through airport security without removing shoes, belts, jackets, laptops or carry-on liquids.

Even non-frequent flyers can have access to TSA precheck lanes, provided that they fill out an application and submit a $100 fee. The fee covers participation in the program for five years. Keep in mind, though, that precheck lanes are not available at all airports, and not all who apply will qualify for the program. To qualify, frequent fliers must meet undisclosed TSA criteria and get invited in by the airlines. There is also a backdoor in. Once in Precheck, TSA still checks names against terrorism watch lists before every flight, just as it does for other travellers. If a passenger is cleared for Precheck screening, a code is embedded in a traveller’s boarding pass. Precheck members usually get to use security lines set up for first-class and elite-level frequent fliers.

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