As a frequent traveller, I can honestly say that I’ve been through my fair share of airport security checkpoints. Some are more efficient than others but I’ve noticed that the biggest bottleneck stems from people’s lack of awareness at what to do. I’ve compiled a few helpful tips to help you through security when you’re next at an airport.
- If you are a frequent traveller or if you intend to travel through a large airport (like New York’s JFK, London’s Heathrow or Germany’s Frankfurt) invest in a hand luggage with wheels. Your arms will thank you later. Alternatively consider buying one of those small, light trolleys that you can use for luggage.
- Before you even check-in, put your coat or jacket into your checked-in luggage. Unless you’re flying to a remote open-air airport, you don’t need a jacket with you in the airport terminal at either end. This means that you can put it on after you retrieve your luggage. It also means that you have one less thing to carry when you’re walking around the airport.
Don’t leave security till the last-minute – ask the check-in attendant what the average duration is in security and then add 15 minutes to that for safety’s sake.
- Faced with multiple queues at an airport, don’t just pick the shortest one. Everyone picks the shortest one. Take a moment to identify the one that’s moving fastest – that’s the one you want.
- While you’re waiting in the queue for security, put all your metallic items into your hand luggage. This way you know that you can just grab your bag and walk away with all your possessions. Don’t forget that iPods are metallic too.
- If you’ve bought anything from the shops before approaching security, try to place the items into your hand luggage if possible. One less thing to carry, one less thing to lose.
- Invest in a belt that does not have a metallic buckle. It took me ages to find one but when my companion spotted one in a Madrid market, I was over the moon. This is a big time saver when passing through the security gates.
- Make sure that you wear shoes that are slip-ons not lace-ups. Taking time to undo and re-lace your shoes is an added hassle for you and an added delay for your fellow passengers. Also make sure that your footwear can be easily worn without need for a shoe horn.
- Follow your bag through the scanner. Do not leave it unattended. If you’re asked to walk through but your bag isn’t going to be passed under the X-ray machine, politely refuse to do so and explain why. Keep your eyes on your bag.
- As soon as possible, grab your belongings and move away from the moving belt. If you stay in the way you’ll just block the path for other travellers anxious to get to their gate. If possible, replace your valuables (watch, wallet, phone) when you’re at the gate.