If you have ever traveled by air, you are probably quite familiar with the headaches that long security lines supply. The way that the security lines are set up at airports is as efficient as it gets. Everything is set up for our safety and was meant to move at a quick and steady pace. So why all the long waiting? Sometimes things get backed up due to larger than usual crowds. Sometime the airport is short on employees. However, the most common (and most frustrating) of all hold ups is the people who are totally unprepared for making it through security in the timely fashion they were meant to. If you are the guy who has his identification at the bottom of his bag, the woman who has carried on tons of liquid baby formula, or the couple that just had to travel with $100 worth of change in their pockets, I am talking to you! You are causing unnecessary delays in my travel plans and I hope that you will at least take the time to read this article so you can figure out how to make it through the security line without leaving the rest of us fuming behind you.
Tip 1: Wear shoes that are easy on, easy off. For anyone who has flown post 911, you already know that the airport security will make you remove your shoes before you go through the scanner, so please, do not wear boots that lace up to your shin or high heels with straps that take you ten minutes to unclasp.
Tip 2: Dress for the occasion. If you must wear clothing that has metal buckles or buttons, keep it to a minimum. Of course you have to wear pants so those metal pieces are okay by me, but just because you are a fan of Metallica does not mean that you have to deck out in chains and such. Keep it simple and just wear your favorite bands tee-shirt. And speaking of metal, please remove the body piercings. I get that if you leave them out for too long you risk the hole closing up. But let’s be real; the amount of time it takes to go through airport security will provide little risk of the hole in your tongue closing up. I have piercings too so this is not a bigoted statement in the least. I simply pop out my navel ring for enough time to not back up the line and presto, back in it goes on the other side! Also, if you are wearing a shirt, a pull over and a jacket, remove the top two layers. They are going to demand that you do so anyway.
Tip 3: Make your laptop easy to get too. Many people travel with their computers and this is fine. I do too. However, airport security is going to request a peak at your machine and if it is tucked in a bag under you swim suit and snorkeling gear, it will take way too long to get to it. Instead of packing it with your other items, give it a home of its own. Laptop bags are fairly inexpensive so you should invest in one before taking your computer on a trip to Cancun. This way, all you need to do is unzip your case and let the security agent see what they need to see; case closed (pun intended).
Tip 4: Read the TSA regulations before you pack your bags. Again, in this post 911 world we are living in, there have been a ton of additions to the “do not carry onboard” list. There are restrictions on how much liquid you can bring through security, toiletries that you can have and much more. Even if you are not planning a trip, check out these regulations anyway as they are a pretty good read. My head is still spinning trying to figure out why anyone would try to carry a harpoon on an airplane! So much time is taken up when people have to take items out of their bag that are not allowed on board. Then they have to fill out forms to have the items mailed to them. And while we are on the topic of carrying on items, PLEASE do the bag check before you get in line. Every airport has a box that you can put your bag in to test its size. If the bag does not fit you have to check it instead. However, if you get all the way to the head of the class with the oversized luggage, the security people will have to take the bag themselves and try to fit it into the allowed space before making you go back to check it. So, save yourself (and me) the time and take the bag test ahead of time.
All of these things will make travel easier for you, me and anyone else who have places to go and people to see and wish to do so without having to wait for the grass to grow.