Planning and adequate preparation can make a big difference when travelling, says John Manning, travel agent and former airport security official. “What you wear and how you pack can really impact how easily you navigate airport security.”
He recommends the following tips:
- Pack in a sensible way that allows you to remove items (such as laptops and cell phones) easily if need be. Wear sensible shoes that you can remove and replace without difficulty and avoid metallic clothing, belts and accessories, as you may have to remove such items once you reach the metal detector.
- Keep your boarding pass, passport or ID in a safe and convenient place so you can access it easily. Have it ready once you get into the security line. Pack your passport or ID away once you’ve passed the security checks, but keep your boarding pass on hand as you will need it at the boarding terminal.
- Store all liquids and gels in a clear, ziplock plastic bag. Bottled liquids that exceed the volume regulations will be confiscated.
- Follow instructions provided by security officials. Once you reach the security belt, you may be required to remove all items from your pockets, your laptop, large electronics, jacket, hat and plastic bags containing liquids and scan them separately.
- Oblige and behave courteously if you are selected for additional screening or questioning.
- Don't pack prohibited items. Weapons, sharp objects and drugs are definite no-nos; as are some animal and plant products and spices. Familiarise yourself with contraband regulations and if you’re in doubt, leave the questionable items at home. Violating the luggage regulations could result in having items confiscated, further questioning, a fine or prosecution.
- Do not wrap gifts. If security officials are required to inspect parcels, you may need to remove the wrapping.
Manning suggests allowing ample time to pass through the baggage and security checks. “Also avoid confrontational behavior, inappropriate jokes or threats,” he says.