How to Ace Airport Check-in & Security
There are few things more annoying than TSA checks and check-in queues. And unless you’re planning on flying business or first class, you’ll have to do both.
Of course, not everything is as bad as it seems.
Passing the airport check-in counter and going through security can be much easier if you follow a few simple steps.
So, before you go into full meltdown mode and decide to take the bus instead (although the environment would definitely thank you!) we recommend giving these few tips a shot.
Packing is Key
Contrary to what you might believe, the process begins before you actually head to the airport – in the comfort of your home.
Packing is an essential step here and you should approach it strategically.
The most important thing is the quantity, of course. The more bags you’re carrying, the more hassle you can expect.
If you want to get through check-in and security quickly, the best possible solution is to pack lightly. If possible, limit your belongings to only your carry-on luggage. That way you can skip the tedious process of checking-in your baggage and go straight to security.
If that’s not practical for you and you always hit the airport with a whole cluster of suitcases, make sure to drop off your luggage before you go to check-in yourself. The baggage drop off queues often have a much longer wait, so it’s best to be prepared.
But packing doesn’t refer just to the type of suitcase you’re bringing, it has a lot to do with how you pack as well.
Make sure that all your toiletries and liquids are packed in 3.4 oz containers and sealed in a see-through bag. Also, use packing cubes to make your life easier when it comes to one of those pesky random checks.
Another thing to keep in mind is to secure your luggage with TSA-approved locks, as it can save you both time and trouble when traveling.
Before heading out for the airport, be sure to double-check whether you’re following all the airport’s rules and regulations.
While most airlines and airports follow a similar guideline pattern, some discrepancies are always possible. That being said, it’s always smart to inform yourself properly before the trip.
If the airline/airport has changed some policies at the last moment, it’s a good idea to be up to date.
This is especially important when talking about permitted and restricted items, carry-on or check-in only items, etc. Power banks, batteries, liquids, sharp objects, medicine… these are just some of the items that need to be packed and stored in a specific way, so make sure you know how before you proceed with packing the rest of your belongings.
Online check-in is probably one of the best things since sliced bread.
So, be sure to make the most of it.
Most airlines have apps which allow you to check-in for your flight and choose your seats in a matter of seconds. In most cases, even if you don’t have the app, you’ll be able to access the online check-in via the airline’s website 24 hours before the flight.
If doing it online, make sure to read the fine print, so you’ll know when to be at the airport. Also, some airlines will require you to print your boarding pass before the flight, so be prepared to make a stop off at the copy shop.
However, if online check-in is not an option for some reason, then head to the counter ahead of time. Remember to prepare all your documents before, so you won’t need to rummage through your bag while already on the counter.
Remember – every second spent away from the check-in counter browsing the free-duty stores is a valuable second.
This one may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised to know how many people don’t remember to prepare their passport and other travel documents before passing through the TSA-checkpoint or presenting them at the check-in counter.
Although the signs everywhere state that you should have your documents ready, many people tend to disregard them and spend valuable time searching for their passes, passports and other essentials.
A piece of advice: don’t be that person.
Whilst we’re talking about getting ready, it’s a good idea to consider your travel wear.
Try not to go overboard; avoid garments with lots of metal pieces and shoes that take forever to put on and take off. You want this process to be finished as soon as possible, so it’s best to dress casually and without too many accessories.
Remember to remove all your bulky jewelry (yes, even facial ones!), wristwatches and other valuables before heading through security. There’s nothing worse than getting stuck at the TSA-checkpoint because you forgot to remove your nose ring, bracelet or necklace.
Done? Good! Now, put on your shoes, pick up your belongings and carry on through the lane without stopping to pack everything neatly right there and then. You’ll have plenty of time to do that in the departure lounge, and the line needs to keep moving.
If you really can’t stand TSA checkouts and are willing to do some damage to your bank account, then you should definitely consider applying for a TSA PreCheck.
This exclusive membership “saves you time and stress” and all you have to do is apply online, do a background check and pay the designated fee.
As a member of the TSA PreCheck Team you don’t have to remove your shoes, laptops, liquids, belts and light jackets when passing through security.
It’s a pretty good deal if you ask us, and it’ll certainly save you the time and hassle.
The question is, is it worth it?
Last but not least, here’s a quick reminder. Try to be as friendly as possible…to everyone.
Airport staff, security guards, TSA officials, random people…whoever you’re dealing with.
These people can help you as much or as little as they want and it all depends on your attitude.
So, put a smile on your face and don’t forget to say “Thanks!”