Airlines, Travel Tips

The Latest on How to Deal with Airport Security Like A Pro

June 2, 2020

** Updated June 2, 2020** After breezing through airport security at my local airport (pre-pandemic), 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. For travellers (including U.S. citizens) entering U.S. airports from 105 countries, enhanced screening measures are in place. Plan to arrive at the airport in plenty of time — airport security measures and physical distancing protocols will likely result in delays.

Airport Security Screening Options

If you qualify for TSA PreCheck, look for the priority screening line – it should save you a lot of time. At some airports, First and Business Class passengers can access dedicated security screening. Another option is to check to see if your credit card offers access to a fast-track airport security line. Lastly, 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, if you want to deal with airport security like a pro, use this time to get organized, e.g., have your photo identification and boarding pass ready, remove your jacket (if necessary), and check your kid’s pockets for prohibited items.

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.
  • If you are travelling with a face mask (required by many airports and airlines), security personnel may ask you to remove the mask.

Liquids and Gels

Passengers can bring liquids and gels on the airplane, provided each item is no larger than 100 ml (3.4 oz). These liquids and gels must fit in one clear, resealable plastic bag usually no more than 1L in capacity. In response to COVID-19, passengers in North America can also bring one liquid hand sanitizer container (up to 12 ounces) in carry-on bags.

To save time at airport security, place all of the items 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 in the security-screening area — 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.

Passengers should place carry-on food items in a clear plastic bag and separate this from other items in the security screening bin. The TSA has advised that food items often trigger an alarm during the screening process. If the food is separate from other carry-on articles, it is less likely that a screening officer will need to inspect your carry-on luggage. 

Visit the TSA website for a complete list of approved food items.


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 (including e-readers) from carry-on bags during the screening process. The requirements are similar in some Asian countries. But, in China, travellers must remove all battery packs and external chargers from carry-on luggage during the security screening process.

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 on 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 small nail scissors at the airport in Hong Kong and nail clippers at the airport in Cambodia.

Consider TSA Pre-Check

One of the best tips for how 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.

Please share your tips on how to deal with airport security.

If you travel by air, you might enjoy reading these family air travel tips, how we often travel with only carry-on luggage, and how to deal with jet lag when you’re travelling with kids.

The Latest on How to Deal with Airport Security Like A Pro

You Might Also Like


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

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

    • Reply LuxeTravelFamily November 22, 2017 at 1:53 pm

      Thank you so much!

  • 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 LuxeTravelFamily November 22, 2017 at 1:54 pm

      Thank you, Anna! Security screening can be intense – I hope these tips help you on your next trip.

  • 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 LuxeTravelFamily November 22, 2017 at 1:56 pm

      Excellent plan ! I often travel with carry-on luggage so end up purchasing scissors etc. in Asia. and leaving them in my hotel when I check-out.

  • 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 LuxeTravelFamily November 22, 2017 at 1:58 pm

      Thank you, Ryazan! I’m happy to hear you appreciate the tips.

  • 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 LuxeTravelFamily November 22, 2017 at 1:56 pm

      Thanks so much, Cat! Happy travels.

  • 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 LuxeTravelFamily November 22, 2017 at 1:58 pm

      Thanks, Juilette – it sounds like you are a pro!

  • 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 LuxeTravelFamily November 22, 2017 at 2:01 pm

      Thank you, Arnav. TSA PreCheck should help, but it sounds like the line-ups are increasing. I guess more people are subscribing to the service.

  • 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 LuxeTravelFamily November 22, 2017 at 2:02 pm

      I hear you! Even when I’m super organized, I can feel like I’m going to misplace something important or valuable.

  • 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.

    • Reply LuxeTravelFamily November 22, 2017 at 1:52 pm

      Thank you! I agree, TSA Pre-check is an excellent idea.

    Leave a Reply


    Receive exclusive travel tips, the best stories, and monthly travel inspiration delivered to your inbox.