We fly a lot. Over the last 12 months, we’ve taken 26 flights – more than two a month! So we’ve become pretty adept at threading our way through airport security to make it as fast and pain free as possible.
Here are our tips:
Get your hand luggage packed correctly
The key is to pack well while you are still at home. There’s nothing worse than stumbling around in airport security trying to rearrange your luggage.
Liquids – we always take a hold suitcase, and put all our liquids in there, so this is never an issue for us. But if you do need to take liquids, they must be in containers of less than 100ML, and they need to all be packed in a transparent plastic bag of one litre capacity (about half the size of a piece of A4 paper.) Note that toothpaste, creams and lotions count as liquids.
Electronic items – laptops, cell phones, tablets and Kindles need to be in a separate tray at most airports when you get to security, so pack them at the top of your hand luggage, so they are easy to get out.
Size and weight – all the airlines have their own rules, so check and double check your case complies. You can see most here: Hand Luggage rules.
Dangerous stuff – it shouldn’t need saying, but you shouldn’t carry replica or toy guns, knives, lighter fluid, tools, scissors or anything which could be used as a weapon. This applies of course in airport security, but also aboard the aircraft.
Wear the right clothes
This isn’t about impressing anyone, but it is about making life easier for you through security. Wear shoes that are easy to take off and put on in case you are asked to do so. Make it easy to remove your belt as you’ll usually have to remove it to stop the metal buckles triggering an alarm, and ensure outer layers like coats are easy to take off and put on.
We tend to pack our topcoats, scarves and gloves into our carry on cases to save faffing around in security.
Check how many departures there are in your “window”
When you arrive at the airport, have a look at the departures board for one hour either side of your departure time. If there are a lot of flights, then you might want to consider using “fast track” airport security, which is usually around £5 per person.
If not, head to the normal queue. You’ll need your boarding card ready, but not your passport. Once it has been checked, put it away somewhere safe.
Follow business people in the queue
As you get close to the conveyor belts, scan the people in front of you. Anybody with young kids to sort out are likely to take more time through security, so if you can, join a queue behind people wearing business dress – they will usually go through quickly and not hold you up.
Take your time sorting your stuff out into the trays
Once you get to the conveyor belt, relax and take your time. The first job is to get your liquids bag and all your electrical gear out of your case and into a tray or trays. Once you’ve done that, remove your belt, watch and the loose change in any pockets into another tray. Try to get your trays and case to go through together, as they will be easier to collect at the other side.
Next, stand in line to go through the metal detector and wait to be called through.
Remove all your trays and your case and take them elsewhere to pack
Once you’re through, you’ll need to wait for your trays and case. When they arrive, don’t try to sort everything out on the moving conveyor, as you’ll hold everyone else up! Gather them all up, and take them to a nearby table.
Once again, take your time. Carefully pack everything back into your bag, put your belt and watch on and put your change back into your pocket. Now pause and double check the trays are empty and to remind yourself where your boarding pass and passport are stored, then head into duty free.
And relax! You’re through airport security
That’s it – you’re through and on your way. With a bit of pre planning, and by taking your time at key phases, you’ll have an easy experience. Have a great flight!