Frequent Flyer: How to Breeze Through Airport Security


People hate airports for good reason. For starters, there are people from all over the globe, which means you can catch some nasty sickness from anyone. And we mean anyone. Then, there’s the terrible, overpriced food and drinks. The souvenir shops are always cruddy and everywhere you look, there are cranky people. By far, the worst part about airports is passing through airport security.

If I may be blunt: it’s a royal pain in the ass. The experience is universally terrible, regardless of what spiffy new airport you’re flying out of. First you need to queue up like cattle in lines that seem to move at about two inches per minute. Then, you need to actually remove all of the junk in your pocket (watches, jewelry, coins, papers — everything) and stuff them into a tray. And while the Transportation Security Administration agents are supposed to know that the rules allow for thin and light laptops and tablets such as MacBook Airs, Ultrabooks and iPads to remain in your bag, they still force you to take them out of your bag and put them into a separate tray. All of this is on top of removing jackets, shoes and belts.

It’s understandable that you need to leave your house with all of these things, but here’s my advice for getting yourself through the scanners faster than the rest: pack all of those small items in your pockets into your personal bag or carry-on while you’re waiting on line to get to the security scanner.

It’s such as simple concept, and yet, passengers are reluctant to streamline their own experience. Whenever I fly, I take my watch, wallet, keys, belt and iPhone and store them in my personal bag (messenger or backpack). Doing so means I never have to empty small items into any trays and fear forgetting to pick them back up after getting scanned, and it also means I can just grab my messenger bag and keep the row of people behind me moving forward.

My personal airport routine:

1. Pack all pocket items and belt into personal bag while on line.
2. Take off sneakers and jacket and place in one tray.
3. Remove laptop and place in one tray.
4. Dump carry-on (20-inch spinner) in front of items listed in 1-3. (It provides a buffer for your trays between your items and the person before you.
5. Pass through scanner, slip shoes on and put coat on. Pack laptop back into bag. Grab carry-on and get out of the way to nearby benches. When you’re at a bench, you can put your belt and watch, and then pocket your phone, wallet and whatever else you stored earlier on.

It’s sounds like common sense, but you won’t believe how much time people waste emptying all the junk they have from their pockets into a tray at the point of security. Then you see them freak out when they accidentally leave something behind. The idea is to have the fewest amount of items to grab after you get scanned.

I’ve been following this simple routine for years and have yet to lose any belongings at airport security. Remember, the faster you’re away from security, the quicker you can get to your gate, grab some food or relax to make your flying experience a little more stress-free.

(Image credit: Getty Images)