Ahh, the TSA, those uniformed people at the airport who are often the butt of jokes and who sometimes just seem to slow you down while you try to get to your flight. Let's take a look at some hints that may help you keep your cool!
The TSA has hints for you on their MyTSA app that you can download to see hints on what you can bring onboard and how long security lines are taking at a particular airport. Check this out at https://www.tsa.gov/mobile
Knowing and following the 3-1-1 rule will make your life easier! The 3-1-1 runs refers to the amount of liquid, gel, aerosol cream or paste allowed in a carry-on bag. You have to put those items in a quart sized clear ziplock bag. Remember even snacks like peanut butter fall into this category. If you can spread it, smear it, spray it, spill it, pump it or pour it, then it should be in that quart bag in containers of 3 oz or less! One thing I also discovered first hand is that if a container is marked as something more than 3 oz. even if it only half full, it will be taken up!
TSA doesn't want to slow you down! Travelers who show up unprepared are what usually slows down the process. Make sure you have shoes that can be quickly removed & take all the metal items out of your pockets. Ladies, this is not the day for big jewelry or clothes with lots of metal ornaments unless you enjoy taking repeated trips through the scanner! Take jackets and belts off as well to be ready to zoom through! Put those metal items into a pocket of your luggage so they can be quickly located after your trip through the magical scanner machine!
You can decide what to do with prohibited items. If you forget & bring something like a pocket knife with you, you do have the option of taking it back to your car, or giving it to a non traveling friend. The issue is usually that travelers may not have time to deal with those items without missing a flight.
Have your paperwork ready! Normally you don't have a problem hanging on to your ID and paperwork, but when you get in that security line, that is when you will likely put things into a different pocket than you've ever used. You may want to invest in a passport or ID holder to keep all the paperwork in so that you have a consistent place to file things away, even when you are in a hurry!
Pick the quickest line! Always scan the security line to look for a line that is moving quickly and remember that lines with families with small children or maybe those who walk with the help of a walker or wheelchair generally are going to need a little more time to get through the process. You may want to avoid those lines, but if you do get behind them, smile & be helpful, as you may need others' patience at sometime too!
If you are traveling with a laptop or other electronics, make sure your laptop is easy to remove in case that is required for your trip through security. Make sure your chargers or cords are secured so that they are not hanging out of your luggage and getting caught in the rollers of the x-ray conveyor belt
I am a big fan of the Global Entry service which gives you TSA pre-check for domestic flights. This is a US Customs & Border Protection program that gives you a quicker trip through customs when you arrive from international destinations as well as the TSA pre-check feature when flying domestically. If you are interested in how to qualify for Global Entry, please get in touch & I will give you the scoop!
When in doubt, be polite to those TSA workers, as they are generally hard working good people, trying to keep us all safe. Give them the benefit of the doubt just as you want them to do for you!