Airport security walk throughs

I asked a lot of seasoned travelers how they organized themselves and their possessions in preparation for going through airport security. These are the responses I got:

  1. Purchase your water once inside security or wait until you are on the plane and get it for free.Be prepared when you arrive at the airport. Have your liquids out and ready. Have your photo ID and boarding pass in hand. All your metal stuff should already be off and either in a convenient outside pocket of a bag or in a handbag. Don’t wait to “undress” in the line. You should be able to just walk up, put your laptop in a bin with your cell phone, change, keys, and take your shoes off. You need YOUR boarding pass in your hand. Don’t carry someone else’s for them.Once you get through, gather your stuff and move forward away from the end of the xray so others have room — but don’t leave anything. Re-dress where there is plenty of room for people to get by.People lose things because they put something down to pick something else up. ID’s, boarding passes, and laptops. A cell phone without a name on it, clearly visible, is a goner, if left behind. If you leave it, and it has a name on it, the TSA will page you to return and claim it.
  2. Don’t carry metal and be prepared to take off your shoes. Bring 2 additional 1 quart Ziploc bags to put your valuable (keys, watch, pens, etc) into when you empty your pockets at security.Going through security, put everything onto the scanner belt in the order of how you want to receive it. It is shoes first, valuable or purse/brief case, and suitcase next. The computer is the last thing on the belt so you can watch it go in, walk through the scanner and then see it come out while you put on your shoes, grab your purse and put it on your shoulder and then deal with your suit case and then computer. Your suitcase extended handle is used to hand the computer bag or carry-on bag on the front of the suitcase as it is tipped back on its wheels.To summarize, you have your shoes on, you grab your valuables, put your suit case on the floor with the handle extended, hang the carry on bag on the extended handle and stroll away with not a struggle. (Brother #2)
  3. My approach is a little different…. As I am in the security line, I put my phone, keys, watch and anything else in my briefcase/travel bag. So I have very little to pick up and scramble with.Shoes is variable by airport. It is not required across the board to take them off, but if you don’t and it buzzes, you have to be totally wanded with a hand metal detector. Some airports, National near me, everyone has to take them off.You have to have your boarding pass with your person. Many people don’t think and put it in a bag or coat pocket, but you need it in your hand. (Brother #4)
  4. If you do decide to bring a carry-on rather than checking your bag, here are some tips: Mascara is considered a “gel” and must be in the 1-quart plastic bag. Don’t even think about using a 1-gallon plastic bag – they won’t let you. Pre-pack your 1-quart plastic bag before you get into the line. Have your ID and boarding pass ready when you get to the front of the line, and keep them out until you go through the metal detector. Double-check your fluids and gels to make sure the packages are 3 oz or less. You can’t bring a 6 oz container that’s only half full – the container itself must be 3 oz or less. Toothpaste is frustrating – it seems to only be available in either those tiny little 0.5 oz tubes or in 5+ oz sizes. There are different rules for liquid medications, which are posted at each airline’s website.

    Wear shoes with socks to the airport. I personally find it gross to go barefoot through the security line. If your shoes are slip-on’s, all the better.

    Gold jewelry will go through security without having to be taken off. This includes my gold watch, but I’m not sure if that’s specific to this watch or all gold watches. Silver is a little more problematic, so I always wear gold and pack silver.

    Barrettes set off the security alarm. I always forget this one – I just forgot 2 weeks ago and set off the alarm. Underwires will not set off the alarm.

  5. Go through the security line right after you check in, Sometimes they may have unforeseen delays. Have your boarding pass and ID ready for inspection. The inspector will then direct you to the queue.

    When you reach the belt and bins put on your carry-on on the belt, laid flat first, then your handbag and shoes in one bin, then your laptop ( without case) laid flat separately in another bin. If you don’t think you will really need your laptop then don’t carry it, as that complicates things. While your stuff is being conveyed though the scanner, the security will beckon you to pass through the human scanner. After you pass through he/she will ask to see your boarding pass. After this put away your boarding pass/docs.

    They may ask you to either open your luggage or to secondary search you. If you pack with all zip lock bags except for clothes then the search of luggage is really fast. If they want to secondary search you then simply follow their instructions/answer questions. I think they more do these on international flights.

    Take up your luggage, handbag, put on your shoes etc. and head to your gate.

More travel tips here.

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