Six Tricks For Getting Through TSA Screening Quickly
These are the top six rules that frequent fliers swear by and follow when they are headed to the airport. Make this preflight checklist a habit to make your trip through the airport smooth and worry- free!
1. Sign UP for The TSA Pre✓® Now Program
The number one way to get through the TSA line faster is to sign up and become a recognized member of the TSA’s PreCheck program. You do this one time and you’re set for all upcoming and future flights. According to the TSA blog, “Eligible participants include certain frequent [fliers] from participating airlines as well as members of Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Trusted Traveler programs (Global Entry, SENTRI, and NEXUS) who are U.S. citizens and fly on a participating airline such as: Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, Sun Country Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways and Virgin America.”
TSA Pre✓®, an expedited screening program that began in October 2011, enables low-risk travelers to enjoy a smart and efficient screening experience at 133 U.S. airports. TSA Pre✓® travelers may leave on their shoes, light outerwear, and belt, in addition to keeping their laptop in its case and their 3-1-1 compliant liquids/gels bag in a carry-on in select screening lanes.
Here’s how it works: After a traveler is pre-screened, info is embedded in the barcode on his or her boarding pass. Passengers can then use one of the special PreCheck lanes, where they may not be required to take off their shoes, belt or coat or remove their laptops from carrying bags. Visit the TSA’s blog for more information and how to enroll.
2. Think Ahead Chronologically and Anticipate Accordingly
Have your travel documents organized together in a folder or travel wallet. The first check point you will go through is the document checkpoint. Have your government ID and passport, if traveling internationally, ticket and/or boarding pass together. Keep the folder/ document holder in an easy to reach pocket so that you’re not fumbling around pulling the required items from various places. The holder should be RFID shielding.
3. Pack Your Carry-On This Way
You will need to remove and separate oversized electronics (laptops, DVD players, etc.) from yourcarry-on for proper screening. Place these things last into your bag when packing so they are on top, or store them in an exterior pocket so that you can retrieve them quickly to place them in a bin. Unless you receive specific instructions from agents on duty, small electronics, such as phones, tablets and certain other mobile/portable electronic devices, can stay in your carry-on bag.
Liquids, gels, and aerosols are permitted in 3 ounce containers, placed in a 1 quart-size, clear plastic, zip-top bag, one bag per traveler. You’ll need to take it out of your carry-on bag and place it in the bin which goes through the x-ray machine. Keep this pouch in a side pocket of your bag or on top so that you can grab it quickly.
Dress the part and wear slip on or easy to remove shoes as you will have to remove them and place them in a bin for x-raying. If you are unable to remove your shoes because of a disability, medical condition or a prosthetic device, let a TSA officer know. The security officer will give you additional screening that includes a visual and physical inspection. If you can, do not want to wear lace up shoes as untying and retying is a hassle. Jackets, coats and bulky sweaters will also need to be removed. If you’re checking luggage, put them in there if you have space and this will speed up the screening process. Use a TSA friendly money belt with a non-metal buckle and zipper so it won't set off the alarm. Various styles accomodate your specific need from just a few bills to styles with an expanding pocket that holds a passport and are worn under your clothing.
6. Do Not Wrap Gifts
If security officers need to inspect a package, they may have to unwrap it. Don’t wrap gifts until you reach your final destination. Your alternative is to mail wrapped gifts ahead.