I’ve flown more in the last 3 years of my life than I have in the last 30 years. While my wife hates flying, I am one who is always ready to book a flight and fly somewhere. If you were to ask me, I would rather fly than drive, and I love driving.
My increase in flying has meant that I have also had more opportunities (I wouldn’t really call them opportunities) to go through security. I’ve heard their speeches about electronics and liquids so much by now that I am sure I am saying the in my sleep.
This increase though in going through TSA has taught me many things though that will help make your experience going through TSA smoother when you are ready to fly.
1. Create Conversation with TSA Agents
It can seem like many agents are just at their post to do their job. Check your drivers license and boarding pass. Make sure that you are who is pictured on your driving license, or in my case what is probably the worse drivers license photo ever (I’ll spare you from looking at it). But when I was flying out of Sky Harbor International in Phoenix right before the College Football National Championship in 2016 I realize just how important it is to just be kind to the TSA agents.
I was standing in line to go through security for close to an hour, in fact, everyone in line was wondering what was going on and why people were flying out of Phoenix when in just days the National Championship game would be played in town. I remember talking to the TSA agent who was mightily grumpy that it was so busy and suddenly as I just ask him how his day was going, I saw a smile and we started joking about how busy it was. Suddenly the passengers that were around me were happier because the people that were tasks to take care of their security in the airport were much happier.
This was the same day that I was also pulled aside at the TSA Checkpoint because my laptop had set off the detector. I could have been angry and in an hurry to get to my gate, but as the agent was checking my laptop I again joked about how busy it was and suddenly everything went smoothly with him. In fact, he after talking to him for a while as he scanned my laptop he told me that I had nothing to worry about to which I told him that he was just doing his job and I could a sense of relief as he realized that someone understood what was going on.
2. Easy On And Off Shoes
This is probably a no brainer. But anytime I’m flying, I am wearing a pair of running shoes. Mostly because, it’s so much easier to pack them when they are already on my feet but also because I can quickly take them on and off. It doesn’t matter what I am wearing, even if I am wearing a blazer which I like to travel in, having shoes that are much easier to take on and off will make the process through TSA much easier not just for you but also for the people around you who are also just trying to make it quickly through the security check point.
3. Tablets CAN Stay In Your Carry-On
I don’t have one… yet. But your tablets don’t need to come out of your carry on bags. This is something that I had not known until I had to go through TSA a couple times and will use to its full advantage when I do own a tablet. Now your laptops and other large electronic devices still do need to come out of your bag and in their own container but it will make things much easier on you when it is in its own bin if TSA ever has to check your laptop, like they did mine.
4. Put Everything In Your Carry-On
This is on that I have learned very recently. Instead of taking your wallet, watch, and coins and putting them in their own small container, why not just put them in your carry on bag. While I am waiting in line, I will take all of the stuff that needs to be in a container, and put it into my backpack. This will help save on the amount of bins that you need to have, specially if you are traveling with a laptop that needs its own bin.
I’ve seen many people who forget that they have change, keys, or wallets in their wallet who have to go back through the body scanner or metal detector only to hold up an already busy TSA checkpoint. This makes the TSA agents angry, along with yourself, and if you haven’t taken tip number 1 to heart, your trip through TSA could go south in a hurry.
I hope that these tips will help you out the next time you have to go through a TSA Security Checkpoint. I know that they have made my experience better, and made flying a much smoother experience because of them.