Jet Away June | Airport Security 101

Happy Wednesday! It’s time for another Jet Away June post! If you’re traveling via airplane this summer, it’s inevitable that you’ll have to go through airport security. For those who don’t travel very often, airport security can be a frightening unknown. There are what seems like endless rules to follow, and everyone dreads the long lines. I’m hoping that my post today will help ease your stress. I’ve come up with three simple steps to ensure you airport security success!

1. Know the Rules and Process

As I mentioned in my What’s in My “Liquids” Bag? post, the Transportation Security Administration (“TSA”) is the governmental agency in charge of airport security. Of course, the most important step for anyone to take before flying is to become familiar with the TSA website HERE. That’s where you can find the official rules. If you have any questions that this post leaves unanswered, definitely contact the TSA directly, as this post is just regarding my own personal tips and experiences. The TSA agents at the airport will also help you if you have any last minute questions. Just remember to be polite!

The process at security is simple. First, you show your ID and boarding pass to an agent. Then, you place your items into bins and onto the conveyer belt. This requires you to remove your shoes, take out your liquids bag, and remove your laptop from your carry-on (tablets and cell phones can remain in you bags). Next, an agent will direct you through the body scanner. Then you can retrieve your belongings. That’s it!

2. Plan Ahead

To make your visit at airport security as easy and painless as possible, have a plan. Here is what my plan is when I fly:

  • Have ID and Boarding Pass in Hand – As soon as I get to the airport, I take out my ID and Boarding Pass. The first checkpoint through security will look at both of these documents, so if you have them ready the process will move quickly.
  • Create an Order – Once your ID is checked, you usually only need to wait a few minutes before you start putting your belongings in the bins and on the conveyer belt. I plan the order in which I do things so I don’t scramble at the last minute: backpack/carry-on goes first, then a bin with my laptop and liquids bag, and finally a bin with my purse, shoes, and jacket.

Once your items are on the conveyer belt, a TSA agent will ask you to step through the body scanner. Then, all you need to do is retrieve your belongings and you’re done! Because you planned ahead, you’ll be able to grab your things and make room for the next person.

3. Be Patient 

My last tip is simple – remain calm and be patient! Remember that the TSA agents are there to keep you safe, and will encounter thousands of passengers in a single day. If you have a question, ask politely and they will help you. If something goes wrong, which it shouldn’t, patience is key.

Always anticipate that the lines at airport security may be long. If you give yourself extra time, you’ll have no reason to panic. There are several factors that can affect how early you should arrive at the airport, such as time of day, time of year, and geographic location. I like to be at the airport about 1 hour and 30 minutes before my flight leaves. I would rather spend some extra time at the gate than miss my flight!

That’s it for my three simple tips to airport security! I hope you found them helpful. If you have any extra tips, please share them in the comments!


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