Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tis the season for the TSA

Having just returned from a trip to Detroit via the Bangor and Philly airports – I’ll share what I observed and lessons learned as I navigated through airport security in the event you plan to travel this holiday season for business or pleasure.  



Do book a mid-morning flight

My experience has been that airports are busiest in the early morning.  When possible – I like to schedule my departure for sometime between 10 am and noon.

Do arrive at the airport early

Every airport is different and you never know what to expect in terms of their security screening process or how busy the airport will be.   I like to arrive 90 minutes to 2 hours before my scheduled departure.   It causes me much less stress knowing I have plenty of time and if things move quickly I can kick back and relax and enjoy a little people watching before my flight.

Do know the rules

A woman in the security line next to me was livid that she had to pay 25 bucks to check her bag because she wasn’t allowed to carry on the jar of apple butter she had bought for her son.   Common sense tells us that the apple butter was not likely going to “take down the plane” but rules are rules.  Rather than arguing with TSA agents and creating additional stress, delays and expense for you – know what you can and can’t bring on board.

Do forget about vanity

I never wear my watch, jewelry or a belt to the airport.   If I want to accessorize once I get through security – I pack them in a baggie in my carry on.  This alleviates the extra time it takes to remove all metal objects prior to going through security and reduces the chance that I’ll lose something.

Do wear shoes with socks!

Wear shoes that are easy to remove and socks!   The last thing you want to do is walk barefoot where thousands of others have already tread.  Yuk!  If you are a “germ-a-phobe” keep a clean pair of socks in a ziploc bag in your carry on and after you got through security – change your socks – securing the dirty ones in the ziploc!

Don’t get re-dressed in the line

After your retrieve your items from the belt – move away from the security line as quickly as possible to re-dress.   If you did wear a belt and jewelry and lace-up shoes – don’t stand there re-dressing and re-accessorizing.  Grab your stuff and get out of the way so others can easily move through – then re-dress in the gate area or bathroom!

Don’t complain

The TSA agents are simply doing their job.  Complaining and whining about it won’t do you or anyone else any good and only serve to delay you and stress you out.  

You will likely be pleasantly surprised to find that getting through airport security really isn’t a big deal at all.  You will make it so much easier on yourself if you follow the rules, prepare in advance and arrive at the airport early.   To learn more about how to get through airport security hassle free - visit           


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