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More Tips for Speeding Up Airport Security Screenings


Prep Your Laptop

When you reach the metal detector, you'll be asked to take your laptop computer out of its bag and place it into a separate plastic bin, unless you carry it in a special "checkpoint friendly" bag. This bag cannot contain anything except your laptop. If you use a traditional laptop bag, you'll want to be sure you can easily remove and repack your laptop.

Ban the Bling

Back in the day, no one traveled in everyday clothing. While dressing up to travel is still perfectly acceptable, almost any large metal object will set off the detector. Pack your belts with large buckles, glitzy bangle bracelets and extra change in your carry-on bag; don't wear or carry them on your person.

Dress for Success

If you have body piercings, consider removing your jewelry before going through the airport screening process. Wear slip-on shoes so that you can easily remove them before walking through the metal detector. (Wear socks, too, if the idea of walking barefoot on the airport's floor bothers you.) Be prepared to undergo a pat-down screening if your clothing is very loose-fitting or if you wear a head covering that could conceal a weapon.

Get Ready for Special Screenings

Travelers using wheelchairs, mobility aids and other medical devices will need to go through the airport screening process. TSA screeners will inspect and physically screen wheelchairs and scooters; you will need to put smaller mobility aids, such as walkers, through the X-ray screening process. If you use a prosthetic limb or medical device such as an insulin pump or ostomy bag, you will need to tell the TSA screener. You may be asked to undergo a wand inspection or pat-down, but you will not need to remove your medical device. Be ready to ask for a private inspection if the TSA screeners need to see your device. (They will not ask to see ostomy or urine bags.) Familiarize yourself with TSA rules and processes for screening passengers with medical conditions and disabilities so you know exactly what to expect.

Bring Your Common Sense

Approach the airport screening process with a common-sense, positive attitude. Stay alert, particularly as you place carry-on items into plastic bins and while you repack and put on your shoes. Thieves frequent airport security areas in order to take advantage of the confusion at the outbound end of the screening lane. Repack your laptop and organize your carry-on bag before you put your shoes on so you can keep track of your valuables at all times. Be polite and stay positive throughout the screening process; cheerful travelers tend to get better service. Don't joke around, though; TSA officials take references to bombs and terrorism very, very seriously.

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