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How to Go Through Airport Security Smoothly

As a result of the 9/11 terror attacks, airport security has heightened drastically. It leaves most travelers dreading the once enjoyable airport experience. Long lines, intrusive officers, and grumpy flyers make the Airport Security Checkpoint a less than desirable aspect of air travel. By following these steps you will 'soar' through this portion of your journey with ease.


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    Be prepared. Before you get to the airport, take the necessary precautions to make your experience as simple as possible.
    • Wear practical shoes. Slip-on shoes will be easier to remove quickly. Of course, make sure they are comfortable enough for standing in long security lines.
    • Avoid metallic clothing or accessories, as you will have to remove these before going through a metal detector. The same goes for metal items in your pockets.
    • Package liquids and gels appropriately. All liquids in your carry-on bag must be in bottles of three ounces or less, and all these bottles must then be placed in a clear, quart-size, zip-style plastic bag. There are a few exceptions to this rule, including milk for infants and liquid medications, but be sure to check before you pack anything.
    • Pack your belongings in an organized way, so that if there is a problem, they can open your bag, check things out and move on.
    • Avoid contraband. Check beforehand to make sure that anything you will bring along, whether in your checked luggage or your carry-on, is allowed on the plane. Otherwise, you may be forced to throw away these items or even face questioning or prosecution.
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    Make sure you have your boarding pass and Photo ID (driver's licence or passport) in your hand or pocket before you get in the security line. The line, although long at times, can move quickly, and seasoned travelers can get irritated with anyone that holds up the line digging for the necessary papers.
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    Pay close attention to directions while you wait in line. It pays to see what other passengers forget.
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    Put your boarding pass and ID away as soon as they have been checked. Keep your boarding pass in a pocket, as it will be screened again, but put your ID back into your bag to keep it secure.
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    Remove the necessary items from your carry-on as soon as you get to the belt, placing these items, along with your carry-on, directly on the belt or in the provided bins. Most airports require that you remove the plastic bag full of liquids and your laptop from your carry-on bag, but be sure to follow instructions.
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    Make removing your shoes easy. The TSA requires passengers to remove their shoes when passing through the metal detector. There is not much room to squat down. People will try to pass around you and benches are inconveniently far from your bags. Wear shoes that you can slip off without bending down or undo your laces before getting in line and tuck them into your shoe. This way you will be able to slip them off easily to be place on the X-ray belt.
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    Remove all necessary clothing and accessories from your body. Take off any metal objects, as well as jackets and hats, depending on the airport.
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    Step through the metal detector after an employee of the airport has waved you through. If you are selected for additional screening, comply immediately and politely.
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    Collect your belongings and put them away. Making sure you have everything you need, leave the security area quickly, making way for the other passengers.


  • While waiting in line, take this time to prepare for getting through the security metal detector/x-ray conveyor belt. Remove any laptops from bags, remove your footwear, etc. When you get to the "buckets", all you need to do is drop your items and slide them onto the conveyor belt. If you are traveling with another person, have them assist you with holding things and vice versa.
  • Remaining calm and avoiding suspicious or anxious behavior will go a long way, especially if you are pulled aside for additional searches.
    • If you are asked to step aside for additional search be courteous and respectful. The security people are only doing their job.
  • Try not to have a lot of change in your pockets. You will have to drop all of it into the bins. Picking up a bunch of change, coupled with putting on shoes and rounding up your possessions, can be tedious.
  • Place small items such as loose change, watch, mobile phone or keys into your coat pocket or carry on luggage while in line. You can sort out your items at your leisure in the departure lounge.
  • Put all your loose change in a purse or wallet. Put all the things that are likely to cause you to get searched at the top of your bag so you can take them out quickly and easily.
  • If you're under the age of 13, you generally will not have to remove your shoes during the security screening.You may also get multiple passes through the metal detector or advanced technology, and you are likely to have your hands swabbed.
  • Visit for rules and regulations regarding security checkpoints so you can be prepared ahead of time.
  • If you are part of the TSA approved traveler program, then you can keep your shoes on along your belt and your jacket. You also keep your 3-1-1's in your bag and your laptop in its case.You also take kids under 13 with you through the pre-check.


  • Don't make any jokes, especially those that relate to bombs or terrorists, when going through security. Airlines are required to take possible threats seriously, and you could get into huge trouble.
  • Keep your boarding pass and passport handy. Do not put them in the checked in luggage, as this will cause a lot of problems.
  • Listen to any security screener instructions and do as they say. Remember that all this security is to help keep you safe.
  • Be prepared for searches on certain kinds of connecting flights, such as if you are flying standby and must get off, claim baggage and check in at a gate to get onto the next leg of your trip!

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Categories: Surviving Airports