Long lines, inexperienced travelers and ever-changing rules can make going through airport security a painful process. While you can’t control your fellow traveler, there are plenty of things you can do to make the process run smoothly. From going through security with TSA PreCheck to what foods you can bring through TSA security, we’ve got all the tips for how to go through TSA security faster.
Get Global Entry/TSA PreCheck or Clear
This is hands down the best advice on how to go through TSA security at lightning speed. While the application and interview process can be a bit of a pain, it's worth it if you’re a frequent flier.
Once you’ve been approved, people wonder how to go through security with TSA precheck. The answer: quickly. When you have Global Entry, TSA PreCheck automatically comes with it, which means you can head to a separate security line where you don’t have to remove your shoes, belt, laptop or liquids. It costs $100 and is good for five years, but you may have to wait a while for your interview once you book an appointment.
Clear is newer and available at fewer airports but will still get you to your gate faster. These machines scan your fingerprints and eyes to identify you instead of handing over documents. A Clear membership costs $179 per year but depending on your credit card status; you may be able to get discounts.
Wear The Right ShoesIf you don’t have Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, you have to take off your shoes when going through security. Although comfortable, sneakers with laces are often the worst choice as untying and retying them can hold everyone up. So instead, go for a slip-on loafer or shoe; you can have them off in mere seconds and back on shortly after.
While you’re waiting in line to pass through the metal detectors, make sure your items are squared away. Fumbling to remove jewelry, car keys and sunglasses can cost you precious time. So, take your phone and loose change out of your pockets and into your Bento Bag before hitting the security bins.
Many people are confused about whether or not they can wear their jewelry through TSA security. You can, but if you’re able to take it off quickly and put it somewhere safe, do so. If not, TSA security may wave a wand over you as a safety precaution.
Pack Like A Pro
When it comes to how to go through TSA security with luggage, your best option is to check it. If you’d rather not wait at baggage claim, make sure you follow standard TSA safety rules with no weapons, large batteries or valuables in your carry-on.
Flying With Pets
There’s no straightforward answer for how to go through TSA security with your dog or any other animal. It depends on the animal, its size and the airline. The TSA website says, “Please remove your pet from the carrying case and place the case through the X-ray machine. You should maintain control of your pet with a leash and remember to remove the leash when carrying your pet through the metal detector. Animal carriers will undergo a visual and/or physical inspection.”
One of the easiest things to forget when going through TSA security is your liquids. We’ve all forgotten the random water bottle in our backpack or miscalculated 3.4 ounces (oz) or 100 milliliters (ml). TSA’s “3-1-1” liquids rule means each liquid, gel or aerosol must be 3.4 oz or less and fit inside a 1 quart-sized clear bag. Each passenger can only bring 1 quart-sized bag. Anything larger and they’ll have to go in your checked bag.
Food For Flight
The rules around what foods you can take through security are much simpler than liquids. If it’s a solid food like bread, cheese or even meat, you can bring it in your carry-on. If the food is a liquid or a creamy spread like hummus, you can bring it through if it’s less than 3.4 oz.
Avoid Peak Hours
There’s no question that Fridays and Sundays are the busiest times to fly. If you can, avoid those and opt for a late-morning flight during the week. As business travel starts to resume, early mornings are likely to be busy too.