Summer is almost here and millions of air travelers will be hitting the airports for vacation. The one question passengers are most concerned about is how can I breeze though airport security screening.
My first tip is know ahead of time if you are one of the lucky ones selected for secondary screening, even before you arrive at the airport. You do this by printing out your boarding pass from home the night before. If you are successful in printing one out, then you are not selected by the airlines for secondary screening. If you are unsuccessful in printing your boarding pass, then you are selected by the airlines for secondary screening and you must check in at the ticket counter.
Always remain CALM and be prepared to undergo a bag search, hand-wand and a pat-down. Do the following to make the screening process easy for you:
1. Wear clothes that have no metal, including underwire bras. Underwire bras will alarm when the screener uses the hand-held metal-detector.
2. Don’t wear baggy pants, dresses or skirts. There is an additional required procedure when screeners are wanding you called, “the step forward method” for those who wear skirts or pants. This is to assure that a passenger is not hiding a weapon or prohibited item.
3. Wear slip-on shoes. It is required for all passengers to take off their shoes. Ask the screener to check your feet and return your shoes after walking through the walk-through metal detector.
4. Place underwear and lingerie in plastic zip-top bags to avoid contamination from screener’s gloves when they riffle through your bag. This applies to both checked and carry-on baggage.
5. Pack your carry-on as light as possible. The fewer items for the screener to check; the faster you get out of secondary screening. Remember your 3-1-1 rule- 3 ounces of liquids, gels or creams, 1 zip-top plastic bag and 1 bag per person. Place your plastic 3-1-1 bag at the top so you can take it out and declare it at security checkpoint.
6. Pack ALL personal bedroom toys in your checked baggage. In my book, I tell a story about how a vibrator shutdown an airport checkpoint for 45 minutes.
7. Know your prohibited items for carry-on baggage.
8. Use TSA approved luggage locks for your checked baggage. This way you can drop and go and TSA will be able to unlock and relock your bag without you being there.
9. Always carry the proper identification for you and any child traveling with you. A birth certificate or social security card would be proper identification for minors. This also applies to your child’s friend when traveling with you. You may always refer to the airlines for changes for identification.
10. Arrive 2 hours early. This will allow ample time for you to get through secondary screening. Remember that power outages, security breaches, weapons scare and long lines, even for secondary screening is a reality.
A bonus tip is don’t dress in overalls and this applies to children too. Overalls will automatically put you in secondary screening.