How to Get Through the Line Faster
Passengers are asked to bear in mind the following advice to help make their passage through the airport as efficient and comfortable as possible.
- Pack an organized carry-on bag using layers – a layer of clothes, then electronic, more clothes, and then any heavier items. This will help transportation security officers see what's in your bag. Innocent items can actually appear to be potential threats in an X-ray image, simply by the way they're packed.
- Do not pack oversized electronics (laptops, full-size video game consoles, DVD players and video cameras that use cassettes) in your checked baggage when possible. However, please be advised that you will be required to remove these items from your carry-on bag and submit them separately for x-ray screening. Small electronics, such as iPods, can remain in your carry-on.
- Prepare your 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag of liquids before arriving at the airport.
- Pack all your coats and jackets in your checked baggage when possible. All coats and jackets must go through the X-ray machine for inspection.
- Do not wrap gifts. If a security officer needs to inspect a package, they may have to unwrap your gift. Please wait until you've reached your final destination to wrap gifts.
- Film. Undeveloped film should go in your carry-on bag. You will able to declare film that is faster than 800-speed to a transportation security officer for physical inspection to avoid being X-rayed.
- When in doubt, leave it out. If you're not sure about whether you can bring an item through the checkpoint, put it in your checked bag or leave it at home.
Dress the Part
Transportation security officers have to identify any metal that is detected at the checkpoint. If the metal detector alarms when you pass through, you will be required to undergo additional screening. This includes a hand-wand and pat-down inspection.
Items that might set off an alarm on the metal detector include:
- Keys, loose change, mobile phones, pagers, and personal data assistants (PDAs)
- Heavy jewelry (including pins, necklaces, bracelets, rings, watches, earrings, body piercings, cuff links, lanyards or bolo ties)
- Clothing with metal buttons, snaps or studs
- Metal hair barrettes or other hair decoration
- Belt buckles
- Under-wire bras
Body Piercings. Certain metal body piercings may cause you to alarm at the metal detector, which will result in you getting additional screening. If additional screening is required, you may ask to remove your body piercing in private as an alternative to the pat-down search.
Head Coverings. You are permitted to wear head coverings and religious garments during the screening process. You may be directed to additional screening if your headwear or clothing (religious or otherwise) is loose fitting or large enough to hide prohibited items.
Shoes. Travelers are required to remove their shoes before entering the walk-through metal detector at all U.S. airports and put them through the x-ray machine for inspection. This allows officers to see if the shoes have been tampered with in any way.
Have the Following Ready
The items you'll need to present to a Transportation Security Officer at the checkpoint are:
- Boarding pass
We encourage each adult traveler to keep his/her airline boarding pass and government-issued photo ID available until exiting the security checkpoint (children are not required to show identification).
If you do not have identification (if it is lost, stolen, etc.), you will be required to provide the document checking officer with some information to help verify your identity. This will slow down your screening process and will result in additional screening.
Hassle-Free Security Tips
- Arrive on time. Arrival time recommendations vary by airline and day of travel, so check with your carrier. Remember to give yourself adequate time to check your baggage and move through security.
- Wear slip-on shoes. This will allow you to take them off and put them back on quickly, without having to sit down.
- Pets. Please remove all animals from their carrying cases and send the case through the X-ray machine. Hold your pet in your arms and proceed through the metal detector.
- Children. Please take your infants and children out of baby carriers and strollers and take them through the metal detector with you. Strollers and baby carriers go through the X-ray machine with your bags. If possible, collapse your stroller before you get to the metal detector.
- Think before you speak. Belligerent behavior, inappropriate jokes and threats will not be tolerated. They will result in delays and possibly missing your flight. Local law enforcement may be called as necessary.
Content provided courtesy of the Transportation Security Administration.