Bypassing Security Lines at the Airport
Security checks have become part of a traveler’s routine whenever he or she is going to fly. Airport security procedures have become tighter and more elaborate since the September 11 attack in the United States. On a really busy day at the airport, a long queue can form just for people waiting to get through the security screening, and sometimes, it really takes some time to get to your turn. For a business traveler who has a connecting flight to catch and a tight schedule to stick to, a long line just to make it through security can become ugly.
But anyone can breeze through the security check if one is aware of the screening procedures and of what items can possibly set off a screening machine. One key to bypassing the security line is in the way the traveler packs his or her bags. Below are some things to keep in mind when packing so you do not have to spend a long time going through the security check.
Remember that you are allowed only one carry-on luggage and one personal item. The personal item can be a laptop, a purse, a briefcase, a camera case, or a small backpack. Check with your airline on what is the appropriate size for carry-on luggage.
Carry your laptop, mobile phone, PDA and whatever electronic gadget you are bringing with you on board, but remember to pull your laptop and to take your gadgets out before going through the screening.
If you are bringing sports equipment like golf clubs or tennis rackets, check them in before you fall in line for the screening.
Except for lighters, which need to be checked in, you cannot bring with you flammables or explosives whether in your carry-on or in your checked-in baggage.
Take careful consideration of what personal items you wish to pack in your carry-on bag, since the screener may have to open it and inspect what is inside. Do not overpack your bag so its contents would not spill out during the checking. Also, if you do not want your things callously handled, you can wrap them in clear plastic bags.
If you are bringing gifts with you, gift-wrap them after you have landed in your destination. It would be a waste of effort on your part because the screener may have to open your package.
To avoid tripping the x-ray machine and have the screener suspect the bulky silhouettes that might appear as your bag is being screened, pack your shoes, sneakers and other footwear on top of other contents of your luggage. Also, do not stack books and documents on top of each other.
Do not pack or even bring prohibited items at the airport.
“Packing Tips for TSA Screening and Airport Security,” by Gary Chisholm
The Transportation Security Administration Homepage
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