Tips for Airport Security

I’ll always tell you to get to the airport 2 hours before your flight for a domestic flight and 3 hours prior to an international flight.  I will never tell you any different because that is what the airlines say and I have heard too many stories about people getting to the airport late and missing their flights.  I’ve even heard of someone who was there, but because they weren’t checked in to their flight 2 hours prior… they gave away his seat!  Can they even do that???  I don’t know, but they did.  So I’ve compiled a list of my favorite things to do to make a security line less uncomfortable.

  • Know before you go – if you will be in an airport you have never passed through before, find out what their rules are.  Do you have to remove your shoes?  Do you have to take your laptop out of the case?  Will you have a full body scan or just a metal detector?  Arm yourself with whatever knowledge you can.
  • Check in 24 hours before your flight.  As far as I know, you can do this for every domestic flight and most international flights.  Please note that if you have trouble checking in online the day before, you should arrive at the airport a little early to make sure that you don’t run in to any problems.
  • Have your photo ID and your boarding pass together and with your picture facing up.  This means that the security person doesn’t have to riffle through your passport or futz with you drivers license to find out who you are and match your name to your boarding pass… oh yeah… make sure you have your OWN boarding pass, not your traveling companion (yeah, I’ve done that too!)
  • Keep an eye on your bags.  I’ve never had anyone try and steal anything from me, but I never really want that to happen.  Vigilance is key.  Don’t be an easy target
  • Have all of your liquids and gels in a 3-1-1 friendly set up.  This means that you have all of your liquids in 3 ounce containers in a one quart bag.  Each person should bring no more than one-1 quart bag (again…check the rules of the airport you are traveling through).
  • Empty your pockets in to the bins to go through security.  If you are wearing anything metal that can be removed, put that in a bin also.  Trust me, the metal detector WILL get you.
  • If you are bringing any gifts along, don’t wrap them until you get to your destination.  Bring the wrapping paper and tape on the side.  I once brought a wedding gift for a friend through security without thinking about it.  They had to unwrap the candlesticks and do a bomb check on them.  I ended up having to go out and get new wrapping paper when I landed in my destination so I could give them to her.
  • On the same vein, dress knowing that you are going through a metal detector.  Wearing anything metal is probably not the best idea.  If you saw my blog on July 1st of last year, I went through security wearing a shirt with metal beading on it.  I got x-rayed AND pat down that day.
  • Smile at the TSA people.  Maybe even make a light joke or a comment on the day (NOT something that will cause them to be suspicious of you).  They deal with grumpy people all day long and are just doing their job.  A small smile can make a person’s day better.
  • As I say every time I write about airports… bring your patience.  PATIENCE IS THE KEY TO A COMFORTABLE JOURNEY.

So next time you are headed through the chaos that is airport security, I hope  these tips help make your life a little more comfortable and your journey a little easier!

Do you have any tips or tricks that you use in the security line?


  1. lock all valuables in the backpack before you go through – a friend of mine had his wallet nicked when he emptied his pockets into one of those plastic trays and was then delayed going through the detector gate by one of the guards. Not good!

    1. You are so right! My most nervous moment was when I took off my diamond Movado watch (I don’t usually travel with it) and put it through. I was watching it every second I could and still didn’t feel ok until it was back secured on my wrist.

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