Airlines, Travel Tips

How to Deal with Airport Security Like A Pro

June 8, 2017

After breezing through airport security at my local airport, an airport screening official commented that I was wearing the perfect travel outfit. I couldn’t resist asking him a few questions about screening-friendly clothing and airport screening tips. Here is the latest on how to deal with airport security like a pro.

Arrive Early

Airports are busy, especially during peak travel season, so arrive as early as possible.

Airport Security Screening Line-Up

If you qualify for TSA PreCheck, look for the priority screening line – it should save you a lot of time. If you are traveling with children or require special assistance with a wheelchair or similar equipment, many larger airports offer dedicated security lines. Regardless of where you line-up, use this time to get organized e.g. have your photo identification and boarding pass ready, remove your jacket, and check your kid’s pockets for prohibited items if you are traveling with the family.

What to Wear

My best advice is to keep it simple.

  • Clothing without any metal bits is best – this includes belts. If you wear a belt, leave it in your bag until you are through airport security.
  • Minimize jewelry – small earrings tend to be ok, but 3D full-body scanners will pick up a necklace.
  • Avoid or remove hair accessories with metal pieces.
  • Wear shoes without any metal. You may be required to take your shoes off even if they don’t contain metal – the rules vary. Children 12 years and younger are subject to modified screening rules, and they often do not need to remove their shoes.

Liquids and Gels

Passengers are allowed to bring liquids and gels on the airplane provided each item is no larger than 100 ml (3.4 oz). All items must fit in one clear, resealable plastic bag usually no more than 1L in capacity. Put all of the liquids and gels in a clear plastic bag before you get to the airport, and keep them handy so you can display them in a bin when you go through security. Most airports provide appropriately-sized clear plastic bags – I always pick up a few for future travel.

How to deal with airpot security liquids

TSA-Friendly Personal Care Items

Food and Drink

If you travel with a water bottle, empty it before airport security screening, and refill it before you board the plane.

I often fly with energy bars, gum, and mints – these are never a problem at airport security. Packaged dry goods are also ok. Visit the TSA website for a complete list of approved food items. You can purchase food after you clear airport security. This food is allowed onboard because it has gone through a security screening process.

Electronics

For travel in Canada and the United States, computers must go through the screening device in a separate bin. All smaller electronic devices may remain in your carry-on. Make sure you can power-on all electronic devices.

In Europe, passengers have to remove all electronic devices (e.g. e-readers) from carry-on bags during the screening process. The requirements are similar in some Asian countries, so be prepared to remove all electronic devices from your carry-on, including battery packs and chargers.

You are not allowed to bring electronic devices larger than a cellphone onboard the airplane if you are on a U.S.-bound flight from one of 10 international airports in the Middle East, Morocco, and Turkey. Queen Alia Airport (AMM), Cairo Airport (CAI), Ataturk Airport (IST), King Abdul-Aziz Airport (JED), King Khalid Airport (RUH), Kuwait Airport (KWI), Mohammed V Airport (CMN), Hamad Airport (DOH), Dubai Airport (DXB), and Abu Dhabi Airport (AUH) are subject to the U.S. electronics travel ban.

The UK government has announced a similar electronics cabin baggage ban on direct flights to the United Kingdom from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, and Saudi Arabia. This ban applies to electronic devices larger than 16cm long, 9.3cm wide, and 1.5cm deep.

Prohibited Items and Sharp Objects

Banned items include the obvious – knives, tools, wine openers, etc. Read this TSA post for more on what you can bring onboard an aircraft.

You can travel with small scissors, nail clippers and tweezers in North America and Europe provided they meet the TSA criteria.  Asian countries can be less tolerant. I had to surrender a pair of small nail scissors at the airport in Hong Kong and a pair of nail clippers at the airport in Cambodia.

Consider TSA Pre-Check

One of the best ways to deal with airport security like a pro is to obtain TSA PreCheck. If you qualify, you can breeze through airport security without removing your shoes, laptops, liquids, belts or lightweight jackets. Learn more about applying for TSA PreCheck here.

I hope you find this post helpful! Please share your tips on how to deal with airport security

You might also be interested in reading these family air travel tips and how we travel with only carry-on luggage.

 

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11 Comments

  • Reply Janice June 8, 2017 at 7:45 am

    Great information. No one likes long lineups so these tips will help avoid delays❤️

  • Reply Anna @ shenANNAgans June 10, 2017 at 11:43 pm

    I love this list so much, I remember the last time I went through security in America, I practically had to strip down to my knickers and bra. Even though for the most part my clothing was as you’ve detailed. I now have a weird complex about airport security. Haha.

  • Reply RaW | Ramble and Wander June 12, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    I think you’re right about small scissors, nail clippers and tweezers in Asia. I’ve had my pair of scissors confiscated in Kuala Lumpur on two different occasions whilst trying to go on a domestic flight when it had posed no problem when I flew into KL on an international flight. So these days, I just keep them in my checked-in luggage just to be safe.

  • Reply Ryazan June 12, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    Fab tips here! I must admit passing through security can be a pain in the arse! After sorting out your luggage nice and snug, you have to undo it all at the airport. Thank you so much for sharing these. 🙂

  • Reply Cat June 12, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    Depending on the airport, it can be quite a hassle to get through security. These are great reminders on how to pass through airport security without any issues!

  • Reply Juliette | Snorkels to Snow June 13, 2017 at 11:54 am

    Excellent advice. Always check with airlines about what you can take on as carry-on and luggage requirements, we’ve been stung a couple of times, assuming the airline was the same as others…! As much as I’d like to wear a lot of jewellery while travelling, I usually only ever have my wedding rings and small studs or hoop earrings – not worth the hassle of removing through security in my opinion! And I always pack a few extra clear bags for liquids (my husband usually forgets about this and assumes he’ll get one from the airport…!)

  • Reply Chris June 13, 2017 at 10:58 pm

    Definitely my least favourite part of traveling. The Chinese insist on having all battery packs/external chargers out, which can be a pain if you forget where in your carry-on you packed them.

    My pro tip is to have a broken arm. I got through security much faster when everybody took pity on me haha

    • Reply LuxeTravelFamily June 14, 2017 at 8:51 am

      Chris, Thanks for the reminder about battery packs in China – it ‘s hard to breeze through airport security there. I hope your arm has fully recovered!

  • Reply Arnav Mathur June 14, 2017 at 3:15 am

    Excellent tips. The last thing anyone needs, is a delay at the security line at the airport. Even though the things to carry or not to carry are displayed throughout the airport before security check, there are somethings which are left out due to oversight. Opting for the TSA Pre Check is a good idea, specially for the regular travellers.

  • Reply Genie Patra June 14, 2017 at 7:15 am

    I really need to get global entry because that would make my life so much easier. For some reason security always gives me anxiety. Not because I think I’ll be caught with something but because I’m always in a rush to get undressed and redressed, take out my laptop, etc haha

  • Reply Suruchi June 14, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    Wonderful and Informative post. Taking care of all these things and confirming with the airlines on whay all is allowed, can really save a lot of time. And actually who like standing in long ques. Opting for TSA check seems to be a fair idea.

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