Five Tips to Fly Through Airport Security

Demeaning comments or attitude can cause unnecessary delays.

Posted Dec 24, 2011

Five Tips to Fly Through Airport Security

Going through airport security can be time consuming and stressful. I flew over 100,000 miles this year and discovered a few techniques that make going through airport security easier and less stressful. Here are the top five tips that will help you fly through airport security.

1) Do not waste the time you spend waiting in line.

Wait you must, but use the time profitably. While shuffling through security lines, I listen to audio books on my Ipod. Listening to books keeps my mind off the wait and also gives me time that I would not have had otherwise to read. For that I am grateful. If I am not listening to audio books, I think. With so many technical distractions in today's world thinking has become a lost art. Thinking should not be confused with meditation. Meditation calms. Thinking engages. Thinking builds dreams, solves problems, and explores our complex world and the people in it. Time well spent.

2) Prepare for security screening.

I travel with a roll-aboard suit case and a computer bag. I rarely check luggage. Checked luggage restricts my ability to go stand by because passengers must accompany their luggage. Checked luggage also saves time waiting in the baggage claim area. I put my wallet, watch, loose change, and the miscellaneous items in a dedicated compartment in my computer bag. The computer bag and its contents are X-rayed as one unit instead of multiple units. This procedure saves time when I get to the check point and reduces the opportunity for loss or theft. When I arrive at the check point, I need only put my computer in a separate bin, talk off my belt, and place my shoes on the conveyer belt. Done.

3) Keep conversation with TSA officers to a minimum.

Keep to social pleasantries. "Hello;" "Good morning, Good afternoon, or Good evening," or "Hi, how are you?" will suffice. On extremely rare occasions, I encounter a TSA officer who engages passengers. TSA officers do not want to know who you are. They do not want to know why you are traveling. They have no personal interest in you. Their job is to ensure that you do not pose a threat. The less you say, the faster the line moves.

4) No jokes, demeaning comments, or attitude.

TSA officers see thousands of passengers each day. They have heard all the jokes. They are no longer funny. Stale jokes are like a grain of sand caught in your eye; an irritant waiting only for relief. Demeaning comments or attitude can cause unnecessary delays. TSA officers have an array of safety procedures at their disposal. Supplemental procedures are typically not used unless additional screening is required. Rude passengers or passengers with attitude fall into this category. If anything in your luggage looks remotely suspicious, TSA officers are authorized to conduct a hand search. Passengers watch helplessly as each item is taken out and carefully examined. The TSA officers politely inform passengers that this is a routine safety procedure and may even feign an apology or two. If a disrespectful passenger doth protest too much, his or her luggage is hastily repacked and sent back through the X-ray machine for one last look. The X-ray machines have the capability of using dozens of contrasting images to examine the contents of your luggage. This supplemental procedure can take up precious minutes, especially if passengers are close to boarding time. Once the supplemental safety procedures have been completed, the disrespectful passengers are dismissed with a smile, of course. Passengers look at the TSA uniform and forget that a real person is wearing the uniform with the same feelings as the passengers they serve. The primary difference is that when passengers disrespect TSA officers, they have an opportunity to seek parity by strictly adhering to safety protocol. To avoid unnecessary delays apply the golden rule, "Treat others as you would have them treat you."

5) Comply with the rules.

The rules are simple. Voluntary compliance is the fastest way to navigate airport security. Do not attempt to explain to TSA officers why the rules do not apply to you because they do, no matter what you might think. I heard many a passenger tell a TSA officer, "I'm not a terrorist. Search the person behind me." The problem with this logic is that the next person will say the same thing and so on down the line thus, rendering security impotent. Another complaint I often hear is, "I was in another airport last week and they did not make me do it this way." Airport security procedures are standardized throughout the country, but may vary slightly from airport to airport, depending on the number of passengers each airport processes. It is futile and time consuming to protest because you are not in the airport that you described. You are in another airport and must follow the safety procedures at that airport. Do not justify why you should not follow the rules, just understand that you must follow the rules.