No one likes standing in lines. Throw in the fact you’ve got a plane to catch and security checks at the airport can be a major (but very necessary) hassle. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can work to get though TSA airport security checks faster. The beauty of it is, agents want you to get through faster too, as long as they’re getting the proper checks done. So, if you follow these tips top on how to get through airport security faster, not only will you be happy, so will they.
It all starts with preparation…
There are various programs around the world that help you get through both customs and security checks faster. Some involve being a preferred frequent flyer, business or first class passenger. However, this isn’t always the case. For example, if you fly in the USA frequently, getting a TSA Precheck is worth its weight in gold. It’s only $85 for 5 years and you won’t have to remove your shoes, laptop, liquids, belt or jacket when going through security. There are also other options out there too. Global Entry, The CLEAR Program, and APEC Travel Cards are just some of the options available.
Thinking about what you’re going to wear when flying is a big one too. Shoes that are easily removable is the first step. Avoid belts if possible, or metal buckles on any items of clothing. Minimize any jewelry you think you’ll need to take off and on. There are also jackets designed specifically for travel that have multiple hidden pockets on them. That way, you can keep your passport, wallet, keys, etc. hidden on your person, slip off the jacket to put into the security tray, and waltz through knowing it’s all safe in there. The Pacsafe Transit collection has a range of men’s and women’s options especially for this. Check them out here.
Having the right backpack, or packing the right way, can also help you get through airport security faster. Firstly, you want your laptop in a spot where it’s easy to get out and put back in. That means backpacks with separate laptop compartments are ultra handy. Making sure your liquids are in a separate, clear bag is also key. Make sure it’s packed at the top of your bag so it’s the first thing you can take out and put in during a check. Finally, having external stash pockets are also great. That way you can put your phone, passport, wallet, or jewelry in them, instead of in the tray. That way they’re safely out of sight and you’re able to put them in your bag while you’re waiting in line to save time. That brings us to…
Instead of standing in line like a stationary lump, use that time to prep for your security check. Empty your pockets into your Transit Jacket, or backpack pockets as mentioned above. Take off any jewelry likely to set off the sensors. Take out your laptop and have it in hand ready to pop quickly in the tray. Do the same with your shoes. By being active in line, it will make the time feel like it’s going faster, and get ready to zip through when you get to the head of the queue.
You may remember The Simpsons episode where Apu explains to Marge that the fastest line at the supermarket isn’t always the shortest one. A similar theory can be applied to airport security. Large families that need to organize their kids can be a slowing point, ultra-relaxed people in cruisewear are in no rush to get through, backpackers with the world on their backs can be more likely to get stopped and asked to go through again. A quick scan of lines should give you a sense for which one is going to be the faster option. Remember to check up the front too. Often one line has dual X-Ray machines, while another has only one. Obviously, the double option will nearly always be faster.
Flying at unusual times doesn’t just have the benefit of cheaper tickets. It often translates to fewer wait times as well. If you can manage it, avoid flying during the peak holiday periods, during the 8am-11am rush, or afternoon rush as well. Late flights, super early flights, or weekend flights can all be better options. Obviously, sometimes you’re holidaying during the holidays and it’s more convenient to fly at regular hours. But, if getting through airport security faster is something you’re wanting to maximize, consider off-peak options when you’re booking the travel.
For some great personal security tips once you’ve made it beyond the airport, check out this article.
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