Getting through airport security in record time

February 01, 2020

Mitch Malone

I wouldn’t describe myself as a frequent flyer or anything quite so high-and-might, but I do travel enough to notice how hard it seems to be for some people to get through security. Through a combination of factors I see a lot of people bumbling with their equipment and generally feeling embarrassed and overwhelmed.

Getting through airport security doesn’t have to be difficult or frustrating, but it does require a bit of planning and forethought before you get to the front of the TSA line. I’m going to break this down into two pieces; one is about what

you have with you and the other is about how to manage it.

Choosing the right carry-on bag

I am a complete and unapologetic gear nerd. I’ve tried so many different back packs, carry-on suit cases, and more. I’ve even done the minimalist travel thing where I carried on everything I am traveling with. For this scenario I am going to assume you’ve checked in your major luggage and you just have your carry-on vitals with you.

When selecting a carry-on bag you need to ensure two major needs are met. The first is that you can have quick and easy access to anything you’re required to get out – this pretty much just means laptop access. The second is that you need a small amount of spare space in the pack for things like belts, watches, etc. as you approach security.

Now I have tried every type of carry-on bag known to man, but nothing beats a quality backpack. As long as you choose something with a good laptop sleeve and plenty of organisation you really can’t go wrong.

Getting through security

Now let’s talk about actually getting through security. I’m going to assume you have a decent backpack, you’re neatly packed and you don’t have any dangerous items. The next step is to actually make your way through security without any issue.

The approach

Approaching security is actually the most important piece of the puzzle in order to get through security. During this phase you’re going to ensure you’re ready to throw your bag through the scanner and walk through.

During the approach to security you’re going to stop a lot in the queue. Take this time to remove any metal and electronics from your person and stash them into your backpack. Watches, change, keys, phones, belts, etc. just take it all off and stash it into the bag.

The arrival

Once you’ve removed everything from your person that might hinder your security experience it’s now time to remove your laptop (if applicable) and liquids bag (again, if applicable) and having them ready. As I get to the security check I aim to have my backpack in one hand, my laptop/liquids in the other. Then it’s just a matter of placing them on the belt and walking through.

If you’ve been struggling to get through security quickly and unmolested hopefully this will hopefully help the next time you travel by air.

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