As evidenced by the newest regulations resulting from the Dec 25th flight incident, new security measures are constantly being instituted in an attempt to protect airline passengers and crew.
Although it's nice to know that everything is being done to protect our security; the luster has definitely worn off. Travel is not always fun. The good news is, as security measures tighten and relax to accomodate times of peace and threat, there are a few things that can be done to help you and security in the screening process.
- Know the contents of your bag. Although this sounds ridiculously obvious, and we all answer 'yes I've packed my bag, yes I know its contents'...yet...in the frenzy of packing at 2am for 7am flight, there are things us honest and frequent travellers may forget to take out of our bags like our water bottle, hand lotion (sans ziplock), hand sanitizer, etc.. HINT: Prior to dashing through security, do one last check of your bag.
- Make things easy for the screening process. Security personnel get crabby when you don't follow instructions and keep the often backed-up line moving. HINT: Prior to being asked, take out any liquids, lap top, and smart phone from your bag; take off your shoes and place them on the belt (not in a bin); remove your layers and jewelry and keep your boarding card and passport in-hand while you walk through the metal detector.
- Don't assume your belt buckle, earrings or bobby pins are going to be fine in the metal detector. HINT: remove anything you think may set off the buzzer. None of us wants a pat-down, so don't leave any room for error.
- Less is More. HINT: When I travel, I purposely wear minimal jewelry, easy shoes to slip on and off, flexible clothing (no tight jeans) and avoid too many layers. Although layers are smart for the varying temperatures encountered during travel, don't wear so many that you have to take off 5 items just to talk through the scanner.
- Adjust your attitude & take a chill pill. Again, this too sounds like a dumb and obvious statement but at airports, both workers and passengers tend to get the knickers in a knot. The reality is, someone is likely going to be rude to you, so try to respond with grace versus tactlessness.
- Get screened upfront. HINT: Most countries offer programs like Nexus (canada/us border clearance process), whereby you engage in a pre-screening exercise and background check. Once approved you enjoy shorter line-ups and fewer questions.
What Not to do in Airport Security Last week I was going to through airport security and the high-strung man in front of me went through the metal detector, set it off and consequently received a pat-down. Towards the end of the pat-down, in a fairly loud voice, the obviously annoyed man uttered "why don't you just strip search me." To mu surprise the security personnel laughed it off. In the wake of everything going on at the airports, I was shocked that someone would invite suspicion in such an overt way. Not a savvy traveller.
How to Pack for Airport Security