Traveling on a Plane: What You Need to Know to Pass Through Security Faster


Taking a trip to a new location is exciting, but you must pass through security before getting through to the airline’s terminal. If you haven’t booked a plane flight recently, you won’t know what to expect when you go through security. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) runs the airport security gates at each American airline terminal. Each country has its own policies, but this article explains what you can do to pass through TSA security faster when flying to American destinations.

1. Keep Laptops and Netbooks in a Carrying Case

When you pass through security, you’re instructed to take out any electronic devices such as laptops and netbooks and place them in a separate bin. Don’t put your laptop or netbook in a suitcase where it’s difficult to take it out. If you forget to take out the device, security will pull you aside to perform several checks on the device, which will delay your ability to get on the plane on time. Incidentally, you do not need to take out small readers such as a Kindle. These readers can stay in your bags.

2. Wear Shoes that Can Be Easily Removed

You must remove your shoes, place them in the bins, and go through the security gate barefoot. If you wear any shoes that tie or are difficult to remove, it will slow you down when you need to take them off and put them back on. Most travelers wear flip-flops or shoes that slip on and off without laces or clasps.


3. Avoid Shirts or Pants that Have Zippers or Sequins

When you move through the metal detector, zippers and sequins will send alerts. The TSA guard will pat you down in the location of where the metal and sequins are located. It’s not an uncomfortable experience, but you can avoid it if you wear clothing that does not have anything metal that will set off alarms.

4. Place Liquids in Small Containers

You can buy small liquid containers at your local grocery store or general goods store. The container should be no more than 100 milliliters (3.4 ounces). If you aren’t sure if the liquid container is too large, put the container in your checked luggage. Most TSA guards ask you to take out liquids and place them in the security bins. However, some security checkpoints will allow the containers to pass through while remaining in your bag. To be on the safe side, keep the containers in a spot where you can quickly take them out and put them in the security bins.

5. Remove Anything Questionable from Your Purse

Women sometimes put anything in a purse, but some items can sound alarms. You can carry a small Bic lighter, but you can’t carry anything such as small scissors or needles. Go through your purse before you leave to remove any questionable items. If it can be considered dangerous and you still need it for your trip, place the item in checked baggage.

6. Check Your License

The name on your plane ticket must match the name on your license. Make sure your license isn’t expired and have it handy when you go to the airport. You need your license and boarding pass to enter security, and you need it again when you walk through the metal detector.

These tips will get you through security faster. Some airports are crowded, so leave ample time to get through security. Some waits can be as short as 15 minutes, but other airports take 30 minutes or longer to get through security. Check airport wait times to gauge the time you need to leave for the airport.