How many times have you got to airport security to be fumbling to find items that need to be scanned separately. Or worse, have someone in front of you that doesn’t realise that they have to have their laptop and liquids scanned separately and once they find those items, they buzz the security screening because they haven’t taken items out of their pockets!
The following 5 tips have come from my experience while travelling and the mistakes I’ve made and seen other people make while going through airport security.
Tip 1: Have liquids in clip seal bags
Have any liquids you are carrying all ready in a clip seal bag/s before arriving at the airport. There is nothing more frustrating than having the person in front of you fumbling through their bag to find their bottles of liquids and then having to ask for a bag to put them in. It’s happened more times than I want to remember unfortunately.
I have two clip seal bags which contain my hand sanitiser, lip balm, hand cream, and any other toiletries I want to carry onto the flight (even if they aren’t liquids eg. hand wipes and tooth paste). That way they are all kept together.
Tip 2: Carry additional clip seal bags for items you need to remove
How often have you had to empty your pockets at airport security and when you go to take everything out of the tray, you are trying to pick up keys, coins, your watch, jewellery and so on. By having a couple of spare clip seal bags you can put anything in your pockets or on you that may set off the alarms into the bags and seal the bags. When you collect everything after the security check, it is easy to pick up a clip seal bag and that way you hopefully won’t leave money, keys, watches or jewellery behind in the tray by accident.
Tip 3: Wear shoes that are easy to remove and wear socks
A number of airport security checks require you to remove your shoes to go through security, regardless of the type of shoes you are wearing. I have seen people in flip flops (in Australia we call them thongs) who have to then walk through security in bare feet. It’s really not hygienic. Wear shoes with socks at least through security and pack a pair of flip flops if you want to wear them later.
Also, wear shoes that are easy to remove. Having to fumble with shoe laces or zips can be a nuisance while trying to take them off and putting them back on.
I have a pair of Vans slip on shoes that I usually wear with socks on most flights. They are comfortable and easy to remove and put back on.
Tip 4: Have all items to be removed from your bag for scanning in one bag
Have all of the items you need to remove in one bag so you are not opening and closing two bags just to be able to get through security. Also make sure that the bag containing those items is easy to access and easy to remove those items from. Easy access can also help when you are trying to put everything back in your bag after the security check. How many of you have done that juggling act when you have to try to put everything back into your bag while walking!
I carry two bags as hand luggage when I travel. Once bag which carries my camera gear has nothing in it that needs to be removed for the security check. In the other bag, I carry my laptop, iPad mini, iPhone, clip seal bags carrying my toiletries and the clip seal bag ready to put any additional items such as my watch in.
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Tip 5: Are there metal items you’re not thinking about?
On one trip to the US, I went through the fully body scan. After going through, a rather abrupt security officer pulled me aside and asked me to face away from her. She then proceeded to grab my pony tail (I have long hair and always wear it in a pony tail when I’m flying) and feel around my scalp and the base of my pony tail. She pulled my hair so hard I had to take a step backwards as I thought she might pull me over. The reason? The full body scan had picked up the piece of metal holding the two ends of my hair band together! All of my hair bands with metal on them have now been removed from my house!
Also, if you aren’t required to take off your shoes, they may still set off the security alarm. I had one pair of flat dress shoes that I wore on a day trip for a work meeting that set the alarm off.