Its no secret I travel a lot. However it has recently come to my attention that not everyone knows how to get through an airport let alone quickly (you can thank some college kids for this insight). Linking up with Amanda to do this thinking out loud style, check out the other link-ups here.
- First and foremost—pick an airline, sign up for their frequent flyer program, download their app and fly with them as much as possible. Why people still print out tickets is beyond me, use the app lose the paper and get moving! Also, if you are flying, get those reward miles! Before I worked for a company where I fly a lot I still was part of the frequent flyer programs. Its not like the programs are that great but to date I’ve gotten 6 flights with miles 2 of which are international.
2. Go to the right area of the airport. This may sound silly but airlines tend to fly in and out of 1 or 2 terminals at airports. Make sure you get to the correct terminal so you don’t waste time getting to the right area of the airport. This is doubly important for international flights. In that same vein make sure you pay attention to announcements and departures screens. Gates do change and the app doesn’t always get updated as quickly. I like to sit by the screen with the flight info so I can keep and eye on it.
3. Before you walk through the security line have your ID in your hand and your boarding pass pulled up on the app or, ugh, the paper ticket in hand. You know your going to need it, so have it out and ready to get through the line faster.
4. When you do get to the security agent, don’t make stupid jokes or strange comments. You are ASKING to be flagged and pulled to the side. Just smile, answer the questions asked of you (usually nothing but sometimes they ask you where you are going) and move along.
5. If you are following my carry-on only guidelines (post here) then make sure you have your liquids in a quart plastic bag and somewhere easily accessible, like your purse or backpack. When you get into the security line make sure you can easily pull it out of your bag along with your laptop (if applicable), shoes, jacket, belt, scarf, etc.
6. Speaking of going through security, here are a few things I have found that trip up the body scanner. Avoid the clothing items mentioned and remove the jewelry before going through the scanner.
- heart rate monitor wearable tech (fitbit, jawbone, etc)
- large bulky watches
- bobby pins
- metal studs on jeans or tops (think sequins, rhinestones, embellishments, etc)
- bulky bracelets (even my alex and ani bracelets have set it off before)
- metallic thread…this one i found out when i wore a pair of plain jeans but the back pockets had silver thread. weird but set the scanner off
- sometimes buttons, rolled up sleeves, or layers (think multiple ruffles) will set it off as well
- so far earrings, rings and necklaces have been fine but same with the bracelets if its bulky err on the side of “its going to set the machine off”
7. Hopefully you brought slip on shoes, make sure and take those off before going in the scanner and oh happy day you just slip those puppies back on when they come off the x-ray machine. Tieks are the perfect airport shoe by the way 🙂
8. Don’t pack strange things. I packed a massage roller (handheld thing with 7 metal balls on it) and was pulled to the side because it looked weird in the x-ray scan. I also had a glass jar of granola, glass jar of lemonade mix, tin of tea, all things that got flagged. Now sometimes you cant help it because you have a carry on and its something you are bringing back, if that’s the case be prepared for security to possibly pull your bag aside and inspect it.
9. Don’t forget there are items you can and cant bring through security let alone on a plane. This list is constantly changing, to see the current list check it out here. Below are some of the ones I heard people ask about a lot.
- drinks of any kind are not allowed. Open, un-opened it doesn’t matter. Don’t try it they will tell you to throw it away.
- Empty water bottles are fine and can be filled up once you get through security
- Fresh fruit and snacks (not liquid) are allowed and I personally encourage to save money
- Any kind of firearm, ammunition or explosive is not allowed
- medicine with a prescription is allowed but you will get flagged and asked to do extra steps if the medicine is in liquid form. Pepto, NyQuil, over the counter cough syrup are not part of this and you will be asked to throw them away if they are not the allotted 3.4oz size.
- baby food, formula and breast milk are allowed but again have extra steps involved to verify there are no issues. make sure you are giving yourself extra time to get through security
10. A note on TSA Pre-Check. I don’t pay for this, sometimes I get it on flights but not always. I don’t see the value because I give myself plenty of time at the airport to get through security. Also IAH-Houston doesn’t have terrible security lines and I’m also premier access so I get to skip the general line anyway. However if I had to fly out of Atlanta on a constant basis I would totally have TSA Pre-Check because the security lines are stupid long. Its all about personal preference but its not something I use so cant recommend or really comment on.
11. Since I do most of my flying through United I have their airline credit card. The perks for me outweigh the annual fee ($95). Most major airlines have a credit card and if you are flying enough and can handle using a credit card it might be a good idea to apply for one. I accumulate miles much faster, get premier access in security, free checked bags on domestic flights and 2 united club passes a year. That’s the United card but I would think other airlines have similar perks.
12. I think that about covers it! Have any you would add to this list?