How To: Get Through the Airport Fast

How To: Get Through the Airport Fast

Aug 26, 2008

Ah the glamour of air travel: get waved through or wanded bare feet as your belongings are pile-driven by grey bins. Make a faster getaway with these tips, from pre-screen packing to lattes.

    Before You Leave
  • Dress for minimalism—slip off shoes, empty pockets, no constricting or tricky jackets.
  • De-clutter—check carry-ons, handbags, etc. for forgotten implements of danger (like nail clippers), oversized hand cream or unnecessary reading material that will make maneuvering awkward.
  • Beware the 3 oz rule—while unevenly enforced, it pays to edit liquids and put all smalls in a Ziploc to avoid potential hassle.
  • Accessorize après-TSA—pack jewelry, watch, belt in a side pocket and put on post-screening.
  • Pack on top—Keep toiletries in plastic and pack on top so you can pull it out quickly.
  • Fly between 9 am and 3 pm or after 8 pm—missing the business traveler rush hour.
  • Get cash—There's usually a line.

    Prep In Line
  • Remove sweater or jacket; unzip laptop bag and carry-on.
  • Pull out your ID.
  • Follow the business travelers—once-a-year travelers, large groups and families take more time.
  • Smile—antagonizing TSA agents and fellow travelers might not hurt, but it won't help.

    Screen Smart
  • Hold on to your boarding pass—many airports require it.
  • The best order—Laptop bag first, then laptop, then personal items. You can grab the bag, pop the laptop in and carry the grey thing elsewhere to get dressed.

    Snacks & Diversions
  • Avoid the first Starbucks or newsstand you see. The closer to the gates, the shorter the lines.

For more ideas, the TSA has its own blog.

What's your tip?

Photo: TSA

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