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!