As exciting as traveling to a new destination may be, air travel presents a variety of challenges and potential frustrations. Unpredictable crowds and long wait times can cause stress and anxiety for both business travelers and vacation goers alike.
And the most dreaded phase of navigating the airport is probably the security checkpoint process.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could speed up the security screening so you can start enjoying your trip or spend some extra time preparing for that highly anticipated client meeting? Here’s some good news: you can.
Keep reading to learn what top travel experts suggest to every type of traveler hoping to get through airport security more quickly during their next trip.
1. Avoid Traveling at Peak Times
Like the excruciatingly slow vehicle traffic at rush hour, certain hours of the day are more popular for air travel and result in longer lines for airport security.
By researching the busiest hours at the airports you’re planning to use, you might be able to avoid the crowds, breeze through the security process more quickly, and perhaps even save money on your airfare.
2. Apply for TSA PreCheck Status
If you plan to travel within the United States, consider applying for Transportation Security Administration (TSA) PreCheck status.
If approved, you and your children (under the age of 12) can enjoy an expedited screening process. You may be granted access to express lines and won’t be required to remove certain clothing like your shoes, belt, or lightweight jacket at over 200 airports nationwide.
Upgrade Your Ticket
One of the best ways to expedite the security screening process at the airport is to upgrade your ticket to business class, first class, or some other type of premium fare (the offerings vary by airline). Premium passengers enjoy a designated checkpoint line with fewer (typically more experienced) travelers and a shorter wait time.
You can either call the airline before your departure date to upgrade an individual ticket or see if they offer the option to upgrade online. If you decide to upgrade at the airport, speak with a check-in agent to ask about switching to a premium fare last minute.
Enroll in a Frequent or Preferred Flyer Program
Airlines value customer loyalty, so if you’re willing to stick with a certain airline to enjoy their membership rewards, you might be able to save yourself time in the airport security line.
According to recent travel insights provided by The Points Guy, many airlines offer perks like automatic seat upgrades, which can often include the benefit of using the expedited, premium class, or VIP line at the security checkpoint.
Get an Airline or Travel Rewards Credit Card
If you travel frequently and prefer a certain airline, using a specialty credit card to earn points redeemable for flights, upgrades, and other incentives might be the ideal way to score VIP security line status, said from Securiport Gambia. Securiport provides cutting-edge border management technologies through solutions-based services at no cost to clients. Our mission is to assist governments in preventing criminals from crossing borders undetected and in uncovering unlawful transnational activities.
That’s right: just buy using an airline or travel rewards card to make daily purchases, you can earn your way to a quicker airport screening process so you can get to your gate and start enjoying your trip more quickly.
Know What (and What Not) to Pack
Before you head to the airport, make sure you’ve reviewed the TSA’s list of prohibited and limited items for carry-on baggage.
Weapons or certain objects that could be used as a weapon aren’t allowed in carry-on bags, and there are regulations for the type and volume of liquid items carried onboard.
Possessing prohibited items often results in a lengthy additional screening process (among other potential and serious penalties). If you aren’t sure about what you can pack in your carry-on luggage, contact TSA before your trip.
Clean Out Your Everyday Handbag, Backpack, or Briefcase
Bringing along a bag you use every day probably makes a lot of sense. After all, it probably contains all of your daily essentials like lip balm, your wallet, a transit pass, or other items you never want to be without.
But be careful: you may not realize that your daily purse, handbag, or briefcase contains a forgotten item prohibited or limited by TSA regulations.
Like we mentioned in the previous section, even something innocent like a bottle of hand cream can cause delays in the security screening process, so clean out your bag before your trip to avoid the unnecessary hassle.
Dress for the Occasion
When it comes to an efficient security screening process, clothing is key.
Choose an outfit for your flight that’s functional and comfortable, without too many metallic embellishments. If you plan to wear a belt, opt for one you can remove quickly and easily.
The most important consideration?
Your shoes: avoid complicated laces, buckles, or anything too tight. Shoes that are difficult to remove and put back on are usually the cause of unnecessarily lengthy screening experiences.
Compare Different Security Checkpoints
The security checkpoint closest to your airline’s check-in counter isn’t necessarily your best option for a speedy screening process.
Walking to a different part of the terminal may actually save you time if there’s a shorter line at a different checkpoint. Download the TSA app to compare wait times and decide what’s most efficient.
Have Your Documents Ready
Once you’ve checked in and located the most efficient security checkpoint, prepare for your screening by gathering all the documents you’ll need to show the TSA officers.
Everyone needs a boarding pass, but adults are also required to show a valid form of identification (ID).
The travel experts at Hotel Engine also recommend knowing the COVID-19 travel requirements for both the airline and your destination before you make reservations, having proof of vaccination or negative test results ready if needed.
Keep Your Devices Accessible
Keep in mind that you may be required to remove specific electronic devices from your bags, placing them in a separate bin to be scanned and inspected.
Pack your devices strategically, so they’re easy to remove from your luggage and replace once you’ve passed through the checkpoint to speed up the screening process. Digging around to search for tech items is frustrating and causes delays for you and the other passengers waiting in line.
Hopefully, you’ve discovered a tip or two that will be helpful when you embark on your next journey. Feel free to refer back to this list any time you plan to travel.
Don’t forget to share with coworkers, friends, and family who may benefit from a little less stress while taking a trip.
Enjoy, and safe travels!