Breeze Through Airport Security

Be Prepared:

  • Check in online up to 24 hours before your flight

  • Check your airlines allowable carry on size and weight and make sure you are under (every airline seems to have different rules) 

  • Have your boarding pass (physical or screenshot) and ID in hand (passport if international travel) 

  • Remove *everything* from your pockets (on my last trip I was in such a rush and running on no sleep and I forgot to take my cell phone out of my pocket - that did not go over well with security)

  • Remove your jacket, belt, jewelry, liquids bag, laptop, etc and have them ready to go in the tray

  • Don't try to bring any prohibited items on the plane (this is dependent on the country(s) you will be visiting)

  • Liquids:

    • Must be in a clear resealable plastic bag max size 1 quart/1 liter (I use a 1 liter ziploc bag).  

    • Only 1 bag of liquids per person

    • No container larger than 3.4 oz/100ml (exceptions: breast milk, formula, medications, duty free items in a clear container purchased from the duty free shop and in their “secure, tamper evident bag”)

    • Have this bag easily accessible and pull it out for going through security - must be in it's own tray or in a tray with few other items so it's visible (I keep mine either in my purse or in an easily accessible pocket in my backpack)

    • US Department of Homeland Security liquids rules available here.

    • DON'T: try to bring full sized bottles through, don't forget about that (hand cream etc) in the bottom of your bag, and don't try to argue with them if they tell you you can't bring it (unless it does meet the criteria).  I have had to forfeit a couple bottles (sunscreen once, hand cream another time) that did not meet the rules, but I had a 100 ml bottle of port wine that I was bringing back from Portugal that almost got taken but after some discussion and them running an extra screening test on it I was allowed to bring it through.

  • Electronics:

    • Check the rules for where you are flying to/from before you leave, because they keep changing (for example the recent US and British electronics ban) 

    • Generally, laptops need to be removed and placed in their own tray for going through security (although some places no longer require this, check the signage at security for instructions)

    • Electronics items smaller than a laptop (cell phones, e-readers, ipads, etc) usually do not need to be removed from your carryon, but larger items like gaming consoles do still need to go in their own tray EXCEPT:

    • ***If you are flying to or through the US, as of July 26, 2017 ALL ELECTRONICS larger than a cell phone*** will be subject to the same rules as the laptops and must be removed from your carryon.  See the full TSA release here

  • Lineups:

    • Pick the line that has the most business travelers - they tend to have more experience and this line will generally move faster than a line that has families with strollers/prams that require extra screening and can take longer to get organized.

    • I have also heard that taking the left line *may* be shorter because people tend to gravitate to the right

  • If you're cutting it close for a departing flight ask if you can cut the line/queue (sh*t happens: tight connection, late arriving flight, bad traffic en route to the airport, etc).  Most people don't mind letting you go ahead if they are not worried about making their flight too.  If it's a super tight connection and you can get the attention of a friendly staff member, *sometimes* they will bring you right up to the front of the line.  

  • If you're traveling in or to the USA, your shoes must go in the trays as well (wear socks! There's practically nothing worse than going through an airport barefoot!)

  • If you have TSA pre-check (also USA): you do not need to remove your shoes, belt or jacket, and your laptop, other electronics, and liquids don't need to be pulled out of your bag.

  • If it's an airport you don't frequent, download or screenshot a map of the airport so you know where your gate is (and where the other gates are in case they change gates on you)

  • Bring a portable power bank with you (see travel gear) in case there are few or no electrical outlets at your gate

  • Reorganize your bag before boarding (if you pulled stuff out to go through security).  I like to place everything I'm going to need on the airplane in a separate bag (see stuffpacks) and keep it at under the seat in front of me. Usually all my important documents (boarding passes, passport if it's not on me, etc), some snacks and a water bottle or juice for the plane (pre drink service), maybe a book, my cell phone, headphones, portable power bank, an inflatable pillow, any medications or other items you might need during the flight.

  • Stay hydrated - flying dehydrates you.  I always accept a drink when the flight attendants come around with the drink carts (unless they charge you) and I always have a bottle of water with me that I fill up after security (unless the tap water in that country is non-potable).  

After Security

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