How to Get Through the Security Line Efficiently
The actual act of traveling can be a big hassle these days, especially if you’re flying. Getting through the security line can be stressful and leave you feeling rushed with all the different things you have to take off and take out of your bag.
But if you show up organized and know ahead of time what you need to do, things will go smoothly, and you’ll feel a little more relaxed. Here are my tips for getting through the security line with a little less stress.
Packing for Easy Access at the Security Line
When you pack your bag, put your liquids bag at the top of your carry on suitcase or backpack.
If it’s easily accessible, you’ll be able to pull it out quickly when you get to the front of the security line instead of having to dig through all your clothes looking for it.
In most cases, you will also be required to take your laptop out of your bag, so pack that where you can easily reach it too.
Know What is Prohibited
It’s important to know what items are prohibited and restricted, so check the regulations ahead of time. Don’t try to bring anything prohibited no matter how harmless you might think it is.
Same goes for your liquids. Stick to the allowed amounts and don’t bring any liquids that are more than the allowed amount.
Remember that restrictions change frequently, so check again before your next flight. And make sure you understand how much liquid you can take in hand luggage.
At the Airport
Have your ticket and ID ready when you get to the agent who checks IDs. Afterwards, put them back in a secure place before going through the screening part of the line.
Your boarding pass and driver’s license or passport are not things you want to throw loose into the bin.
In the US, and a few other countries, you will be required to take off your shoes. Wear shoes that are easy to take off and quick to put back on. I also recommend wearing socks so you don’t have to walk barefoot on the cold, dirty floor.
Take everything out of your pockets, take off your belt, and take off your watch if it’s metal. They usually have small bowls you can put things like loose change into to go on the conveyor belt. They will also ask you to take off your coat or sweatshirt, so do that ahead of time too.
Once my stuff comes through the other side of the screening conveyor belt, I like to put my shoes on as quickly as possible and then take the rest of my things over to a nearby bench or chair.
If you try to repack everything right there in the screening area, you can easily get in other people’s way. You’ll also feel even more rushed. Too many people in that area also means you might be getting in the way of the security agents.
These might seem like simple tips, but they will go a long way towards getting you through the screening process at the security line quickly and efficiently. If you’re organized about it from the beginning, you’ll feel less stressed and less hassled. And it’s always nice to start a vacation feeling calm so you can focus on the good stuff – getting excited about your trip!
You might also enjoy:
- 8 Things to do If You Think Your Layover is Too Short
- What to Pack in Your Carry-On Bag
- Is Your Layover Long Enough?
- Carry-On Luggage Size Chart
December 31, 2019 @ 6:50 pm
What size of ziplock is accepted for my liquids and gels?
January 4, 2020 @ 1:16 pm
For carry on luggage, your liquids bag must be 1 quart (or smaller, but a quart is already pretty small) and you are only allowed one liquids bag per person. Read more about traveling with liquids.
December 26, 2017 @ 7:46 pm
Can a stainless steel drinking cup with plastic cover be carried on to the plane?
December 28, 2017 @ 9:52 pm
Yep, that should be fine, just make sure there’s no liquid in it when you go through the security check.
Barbara G Peterson
December 29, 2017 @ 12:50 am
Thanks, I was glad to have known in advance. I have in the past had my favorite perfume confiscated” the bottle was 5oz but was only half full. So I did not want to take a chance
December 29, 2017 @ 10:06 am
Yep, it’s a strange rule. You can’t have liquids over 3.4 ounces, so even if the container is much bigger but almost empty, they won’t let you take it. But if the container is completely empty, you’re fine.
December 26, 2017 @ 7:41 pm
I use a nebulizer daily, it is electrical, should it be in my carry on or in my stored luggage
December 28, 2017 @ 9:52 pm
Hi Barbara, I believe that’s a medical device, correct? That should go in your carry-on. I’d hate for your luggage to get lost with that in it. I’m not sure how big it is, but if you need a separate bag for it, you might want to get a note from your doctor explaining what it is and why you need it to be sure it stays with you.
August 2, 2012 @ 5:59 am
Great tips! I’ve gotten really good at going through the airport security line. I even help Scott pick his stuff up after we go through because I’m quicker than him. 🙂 He’s always wearing a belt and carrying change/wallet/etc. I try to keep it simple.
August 2, 2012 @ 10:45 am
Thanks Christy! It’s funny, I think the security line is one of the few places where guys end up taking longer because women generally don’t have change and wallets and things like that in our pockets. Glad you can help him out!
The Squishy Monster
August 2, 2012 @ 2:02 am
These are some fantastic points! I wish everyone realized these things!!! =D
August 2, 2012 @ 10:44 am
Thanks! We’ll help spread the word!
August 2, 2012 @ 12:09 am
I really think they should have an experienced traveler line at the airport. I always seem to get stuck behind the people that wait until they’re at the very front of the line to start taking out their liquids and taking off their shoes. You have nothing to do while standing in line; it’s a great time to be getting ready.
August 2, 2012 @ 10:42 am
The Atlanta airport actually has one that’s called the expert traveler lane (though I don’t know if that’s official or just what frequent fliers call it) and it still happens there. I think part of it is that there are so many rules and if you don’t fly often, you can easily lose track of all the ridiculous things we have to do now to get through security.
April 11, 2013 @ 3:08 pm
Check out the TSA’s “Pre Check” system. It works pretty good. Streamlined scrutiny, not as much hassle, and, best of all, only other experienced travelers are in there too.
April 12, 2013 @ 12:12 pm
Definitely sounds like a good option for frequent travelers!
August 1, 2012 @ 4:20 am
I have a rule of ‘everything has its place and everything in its place’ – this means I ALWAYS know where my passport is. I check frequently and know instantly if it’s not where it should be!!
August 1, 2012 @ 2:54 pm
Exactly. Your passport is the most important thing you have with you, always know where it is. Thanks Gillian!
April 11, 2013 @ 3:06 pm
One old dodge: “Sir, did you lose your wallet? I found this one here!”, then you pat your pocket, feel the lump, “No, thanks, still have mine.” For now…
So realize too that constantly checking can inform others where you keep your important stuff.
April 12, 2013 @ 12:11 pm
Thanks Wayne, good point! Good to know where everything is and not let the rest of the world know.
January 30, 2020 @ 8:00 pm
I have to wear an orthopedic boot because of an injury to my lower leg. Will I have to remove this to go thru security ?
February 3, 2020 @ 4:30 pm
Hi Pamela! I can’t say for sure, but it looks like no, you would not be required to remove it. TSA has a lot of info about medical situations, so I recommend going to this page https://www.tsa.gov/travel/special-procedures and looking at the drop down menu. I think your boot would fall under the “Prosthesis, Cast, Support Brace, Sling, Support Appliance” section. I hope this helps!
July 31, 2012 @ 1:15 am
Simple tips, true. Easy to remember? Yes, but more easily forgotten.
Always good to review 🙂
July 31, 2012 @ 1:48 pm
Exactly! Thanks Maria!