This blog post was updated on May 15, 2020.
It’s summer, and you’re probably going to find yourself at an airport somewhere in the US, hopping a flight to a long-overdue summer vacation. You think you’ve got all the bases covered and are looking forward to your trip, but you know there will be delays due to TSA security check lines that could keep you in limbo indefinitely. Recently, this story on foxnews.com and this piece on CNN focused on the challenges faced by the TSA and how they planned to cope with the need for more personnel to speed up the process, but frustrations are boiling over, as you can see in this video posted on HuffPost.
Our travel experts have put together a few simple tips to make sure you get through those long lines without breaking a sweat.
Be The Early Bird
Yes – you got excited that you’re going on holiday so you drank a bit too much the night before, and forgot to pack your bags and passed out on your friend’s place at 4Am… but your flight’s at 8! Most airlines require that you show up at airports at least 90 minutes before your flight EVEN after you’ve checked in online. While this may be a comfortably doable time frame for most, we would suggest you show up at least 2 hours (domestic flights) or 3 hours (international) ahead to allow for the security check lines. This may sound ridiculously excessive, but it’ll save you time in line.
Bring Your Ninja Organization Skills
We don’t encourage you to walk through security with a black facemask and katanas, but we do suggest being as meticulous and well-planned as a stealthy Japanese assassin. Keep your passport, tickets, and boarding passes in one place – fanny packs optional. Make sure your laptop can be accessed easily, and pack accordingly for swift removal (TSA-friendly laptop bags may speed things up). Make sure there’s nothing in your pockets. Being aware of these simple things can help you glide through harmoniously.
Don’t Let Liquids Dampen The Process
Don’t be a wet blanket to the TSA – put your large liquid bottles away in your checked in luggage. You’re only allowed to carry each liquid item in containers of 100 milliliters or less in your carry-on bags. Having large bottles of liquids means you will have to chuck them away, or if they’re drinkable, gulp them down Don’t develop any liquid tension with the TSA officers, because they’ve got rules to follow too.
There’s No Need to Belt it Out
Wearing a belt may be a necessity, especially for gents, but try to avoid wearing them when flying. Find comfy track bottoms or shorts for the trip – it’ll save you a considerable amount of time taking it off and putting it back on at the checkpoint. If you do need a belt to look good, you can keep it in your carry-on until you’ve passed the security check.
Kick The Habit of Complicated Footwear
We know you’ll raise your voice in opposition to traveling without wearing your laced up Oxfords and knee-high boots, but please … put a sock in it! Undoing and taking off complicated footwear can be a time-waster during a check, You need something that’ll come off and back on again with minimal effort. Go for comfy loafers or even sandals. If you need to look formal when you land, make sure you pack your fancy shoes in your carry-on.
Pack Your Halo
Patience is a virtue, and this is the perfect time to let your inner saint shine. Do whatever keeps you calm. Read, listen to music, upload your 67th selfie of the day – whatever it takes to keep cool. Don’t vent your frustrations on TSA officers – they’re probably just as frustrated as you are. Smile and talk to your fellow travelers – after all, you’ve waited this long for a holiday, so what’s a few more hours?
What do you do to avoid the stress of standing in line at airport security checks? If you have interesting tips or a funny story, please share them with us!
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