What’s the best way to get through airport security? Savvy flyers have a little bag of tricks to to swiftly and efficiently get through the mighty tricky security lines. But who doesn’t love extra tips for taking the pain out of the airport experience? Routehappy’s Director of Data, John Walton, shares his top 6 security tips:
1. Choose the right line (or the left one. Or the one downstairs hidden behind the water fountain)
My top tip is to be smart about choosing your security line, especially at larger airports. Routehappy users love sharing hot tips about hidden or under-used security lines, and I’ve saved hours by finding those shorter and faster lines. (Hi there, JFK T4!) Skip lines containing folks who might take longer — infants, kids, obvious tourists (t-shirts or hoodies with their town’s name on it is a big hint here!) and older travelers. But also be aware of what’s at the end of the line — or, more specifically, how many machines are in operation.
2. Carry (right) on
Pick the right carry on bag! TSA-approved laptop bags are widely available, but anything that lets you pull your laptop bag out swiftly is a great plan. And try not to pack too much extra electronic gear — a mess of cabling and gizmos makes it more likely that the X-ray screener will want to have a closer look. Consider rubber-banding your wires and cords neatly (and you’ll be grateful when you come to use them too.)
3. Coat it – carefully
Even in warmer weather, I travel in a light sport coat or blazer. As I get closer to the end of the line, I empty my pant pockets into the sport coat, ready to put it through the x-ray machine. (Hot tip: to avoid creases when folding sport coats or blazers, pop one of the shoulders inside out, then fold the other shoulder into it.) And being smart in a sport coat has often paid off with an upgrade, and I’m grateful for it when the plane is arctic inside too.
4. Adopt a Mantra (om)
I use a mantra to put things on the belt in order so I don’t forget them: jacket, bag, laptop, shoes. I slip my jacket on first, then grab my bag, slip the laptop into it, and then grab my shoes.
5. Speaking of belts…
Skip the belt, or wear a tried-and-tested non-metallic one. Alternatively, consider going the full British with a pair of suspenders, the old-school type with loops for buttons sewn inside your waistband. Look at you, all Downton Abbey.
6. Keep the feet simple and to the beat
Slip-on shoes are a great plan. I have a pair of really comfy Ecco moccasins that work well in business casual or with shorts at the weekend. But whatever brand you go for, check carefully that the shoes don’t have a metal frame or heel plate for structure. In those rare cases where you can keep your shoes on when going through security, you don’t want to set off the metal detector.
What are your top security tips? Share them with us on Twitter or Facebook, and don’t forget to share these tips with your friends!
If you’re a reality show junkie (especially if you’re flying an airline like JetBlue or Virgin America that have live satellite TV offerings) you may have come across CBS’s Big Brother, now in their 15th season.
If you’re not familiar with the show, it works like this: 16 “houseguests” live together in a house built on the CBS studio lots, completely cut off from the outside world for 3 months. They struggle for power with the end goal of being the last one standing, with a $500,000 check to sweeten the deal.
Each week, a competition is held to compete for luxuries, and the losers become “have-nots” for the week. When you become a have-not, you have to eat “slop” as your main meal for the week (which is some sort of a cold oatmeal-type substance) and sleep in a more uncomfortable room as opposed to a normal bed.
This year, the folks at CBS put on their #avgeek hats and recreated a coach class cabin of their very own, complete with some rather basic seats (which do not recline, by the way) and plenty of space for their luggage.
At Routehappy, we’re all about our unique Happiness Scores that tell fliers what flights are the happiest and at the best price, ranging from 0-10. Thinking about this cabin, we wanted to put our Happiness Factors to the test and build a score for the Have-Not room:
Aircraft Type: It’s hard to say, but we think this is a much older aircraft judging by the older tray tables and baggage compartments, not to mention the super retro luggage they’ve uncovered.
Seat Type: If seated in the front row, legroom is plentiful, but in the back row – seems like an average seat pitch. There is no competition within the competition to decide who sits where. Generally only about 6 “have-nots” exist, so each should be able to get their own row.
Seat Layout: 3-3-3 is relatively more comfortable than 3-4-3 on those long international flights, and this angled configuration is certainly unique to the have-not room, so we’ll consider this a plus.
Entertainment: No seatback televisions here, but instead, mirrors with cameras looking in to watch all the juicy conversations which involve lots of salacious gossip. So, that in and of itself can be entertaining.
Power: Depends on the definition. No power outlets to juice up gadgets in here (since the houseguests aren’t allowed to have any in the first place), but plenty of struggles for leadership power in the house.
Wi-Fi: Houseguests are cut off from the outside world. They can’t communicate with friends or family, let alone see what’s happening on Twitter. If there is a Wi-Fi stream, it’s just for the CBS employees outside the door.
Flyer Rating: Initial feedback from the houseguests is quite dismal, especially combining this with the added punishment of eating “slop.” We also should mention that there isn’t an attentive flight crew around to help keep the houseguests comfortable.
The Happiness Hover: A Have-Not “sentence” is about a week long, so think of taking an entire week to get somewhere in one of these non-luxurious seats. It’s also not a guarantee that the sentence lasts one week. If a have-not loses a subsequent competition, they might spend another week onboard.
Scoring this together, we’re going to give the Have-Not room a completely made-up (and non-scientific) Happiness Score of 1.0. We also call this our “dreadful” rating.
This uncomfortable cabin makes your flight look pretty great now, doesn’t it? With airlines investing more money than ever on new planes, seats and amenities, you’ll find all the key differences laid out helpfully and easily at Routehappy!
Read more from John W, more tips and real world reviews about Virgin Australia, or more about Sydney’s awesomely named Kingsford Smith airport on Routehappy.