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Go Through Airport Security Faster

Updated on February 16, 2014

Even though in some airports (like Israel's) security was tight since the hijacking of the 1970s, in most locations security measures got heightened after the terrorist attacks of September 11. Consequently, you may want to follow the below guidelines to make your excursion through airport security as smooth and fast as possible.

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Before Going to the Airport

Shoes and Socks

You should wear shoes which are easy to take off (e.g., don't wear boots), and clean socks (you wouldn't want to walk through the security area barefoot). Remember that there may be a stage where you may have to walk around in those socks.

Metal Items

Make sure all metal items you wear are easily removable.

Don't wear clothes with embedded metals.

Liquids and Gels

Check online (e.g TSA) for all the airports on your trips (including layovers), what are the allowable quantities of liquids and gels (shaving gel, toothpaste, water, contact-lens liquids, milk for infants, etc.) It may be cheaper to buy these at your destination than carry too large containers that would be confiscated at the airport (or you could just put them in your check-in luggage). There may also be requirements to pack all such liquids and gels in a clear plastic bag.

Computers and Electronic Devices

Make sure all your electronic devices are charged, in case you need to prove they're functioning (you may want to put your laptop in hibernate mode, so it'll boot faster).

Medications

Have prescriptions for your medications with you, as some medications contain ingredients that are also used in bomb-making (e.g., nitroglycerin).

Packing

Make sure you pack your carry-on in an organized way (e.g., put all similar items in a durable plastic bag or container). Verify online what is allowed on the plane (you won't want your scissors and nail file to be confiscated, or to be detained because a gun-shell was left in your bag after your last hunting trip or army reserve duty).

Pack yourself, and don't let strangers access your luggage after you finished packing.

Personal Appearance

Dress respectfully, be shaved, and do not look suspicious or strange in any way - before going through security. Respectable looking passengers go through security faster.

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Before Going Into the Check-up Line

Metal Items

Take off all non-essential metal items and put them in a compartment of your carry-on, or pockets of your jacket.

Identity Documents

Have your passport and boarding pass ready.

Signs

Read airport-security-zone signs that inform you of dos and don'ts.

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In the Check-up Line

If there are several check-up lines, choose the one that has the largest percentage of business travellers, as those usually are best prepared and will go fastest through the screening process.

Once boarding-pass and passports are checked, put them away in an easily accessible secure location (on your person or in your carry-on). You may need to show them later on, but do not need them in your hands.

Remove all metal objects (belt, pen, change, necklace, watch, body-piercing, etc.) from your person, and put them in your jacket's pocket or in your carry-on. This step will pay dividends when you leave the screening belt and you don't have to worry that something is left behind.

Make sure your cell-phone is turned-off for the duration of the screening.

Take off jacket.

Take laptop out of its bag.

If required, take off shoes.

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At the Belt

Put jacket in a clean bin (or on top of your carry-on).

Put laptop in a separate bin. Shoes may go in a separate bin or directly on the belt.

Remember how many bins you used.

Speak politely, answer questions directly, don't use sarcasm and tell no jokes.

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After the Belt

Make sure you collected all the bins you deposited into the screening machine, and all your belongings and personal items (including belt, watch, laptop, cell-phone, and keys).

Before living the security area, verify you have your boarding pass and passport.

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