How to Breeze Through Airport Security
Ever seen that scene in the film ‘Up in the Air’ where Ryan Bingham (George Clooney’s character) is explaining to his co-worker how he manages to breeze through airport security with such ease?
If you haven’t, the video is included below.
Although he (somewhat racistly) suggests that when going through airport security it’s best to queue behind Asian business men (because they “pack light, travel efficiently and have a thing for slip-on shoes”) as opposed to parents with strollers or old people (who “never seem to appreciate how little time they have left on earth”).
Of course, it is silly to stereotype all people into these groups, but then to paraphrase Clooney’s character, stereotyping is faster.
While some people aren’t particularly bothered about getting through airport security in double-quick time, if you’re in a rush or you just want to get to your gate as fast as possible so you can relax, you would be wise to follow the teachings of Ryan Bingham (minus the racism).
From my experiences of traveling through various airport security checkpoints, I have compiled a list of tips for helping you breeze through airport security with ease.
Do Your Research Online Beforehand
Some airports will have multiple security checkpoints, meaning it can be beneficial to find out which ones have the longest lines/delays.
To find out how long you can expect to wait (on average) at each security point, visit the TSA website.
When I say ‘dress smartly’ I don’t mean that you should arrive at the airport wearing a tuxedo, I mean that you should wear comfortable clothes that can be easily taken off and put back on.
Avoid wearing trousers that require a belt (as you’ll need to take your belt off as you go through security). If you do have to wear a belt, pick one without a metal belt buckle that’ll set off the alarms.
As far as shoes go, slip-on shoes are the best. Most airports will require you to remove your shoes when going through security, so make sure you’re wearing one that are easy to take off and put back on.
Carry a Messenger-Style Bag
What is a ‘messenger bag’? It’s the kind that pizza delivery guys wear, with a strap that goes across your body and an easily accessible top flap.
These are great if you’re traveling with a laptop computer, as they’re the perfect size for storing them and don’t need to be zipped/unzipped.
Find the Shortest Queue and Don’t Mess Around
After you’ve shown your ID/boarding pass and you’re in the security area, you’ll typically be presented with the option of joining a number of different queues.
Don’t hesitate in moving as quickly as possible to the shortest X-ray queue. Oftentimes most travelers will wait until they’re directed into a queue by the security staff, meaning they might miss their chance to join the shortest queue and be overtaken by other passengers.
Use Two Bins & Order Them Strategically
As you approach the X-ray machine, several questions will no doubt enter your mind. You’ll as yourself “How many bins should I use?” and “What items should I put in each bin?”
In my experience, I find it’s best to use two bins.
You can place your shoes, your jacket/coat and any toiletries you may have in the first bin, then your laptop (providing you’re carrying one) in the second bin.
Your messenger bag can then be placed behind these (not in a bin).
By doing things in this order, you can put your coat, shoes and belt back on while you’re waiting for the rest of your bags to come through.
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