Airport security is both a positive and a negative of the travelling experience. On the one hand, it virtually eliminates the number of yahoos that board planes carrying harmful items or weapons, which I think can be argued is universally a good thing. On the other hand, it takes a long time and is stressful. Boo.
Unless you’re willing to board a boat (and in that case there is still security screening to go through) or you never leave your continent, you have to deal with airport security and whatever new rules they implement, as invasive as many of them may seem to be. While there is no way to stop random checks or skip the process entirely, below are a few ways you can greatly help speed up the process for yourself and for your fellow travellers.
1. Have Your Documents Ready
Seriously – there are signs everywhere telling you to do this and it’s the same everywhere. Have your passport (or photo ID for domestic flights) and boarding pass ready as soon as you enter the line. Remember how you had it out when you checked your bags? Don’t put it away if you’re going right to your gate. Stick the boarding pass into the picture page – it will make everything go smoother.
2. Put all Metal Items into Some Sort of Bag
This goes for keys, your wallet, your watch and especially your change. If you can have your pockets emptied prior to getting to the front of the line it will mean fewer chances you have forgotten something and have to go through the metal detector again, much to everyone’s annoyance. Deposit all those items into your carry on or some sort of coat with pockets that will be put through the x-ray scanner so when you are cleared, you can just grab your stuff and walk away.
3. Don’t Wear a Belt
While it depends on the metal of the belt, it just saves everyone a huge hassle if you wear pants that fit when you fly. It’s kind of annoying to take it off and then put it back on too, which will save you a lot of time and effort once you make it through to the other side.
4. Wear Shoes That Are Easy to Take Off
Particularly if travelling anywhere that involves the U.S, you will have to take off your shoes. I understand the logic but still think the practice is stupid, but there is nothing you can do about it – just wear shoes you can take off easily. Which brings me to my final tip…
5. Don’t Argue and Be Polite with Security Personnel
Generally, their jobs suck. They spend all day everyday dealing with all of the above issues with people who never learn and act like security is ruining their lives. Be nice to them – they may be the ones to decide whether you get taken into the little room off to the side.