How to Get Through Airport Security Faster and Smoother

Have you ever struggled to get through security smoothly? Want to know how to get through airport security faster? One of the most daunting travel processes is going through security. In the USA we call security “TSA” or Transportation Security Administration. After years of travel I’ve come up with top tips to help you avoid any airport security mistakes. 

Read below to make sure you can move through security quickly and seamlessly! 

Check-In Ahead of Time & Review Your Boarding Pass

The day before your flight, you’ll receive an email letting you know it’s time to check in for your flight. Typically you can check in within 24 hours prior. In order to speed things up at the airport, I recommend checking in before arrival. Checking in at the airport can sometimes flag you for extra security checks. 

Also make sure to review your ticket. If you see SSSS on your ticket, prepare yourself for a full TSA search. This can sometimes happen if you’ve traveled to obscure places, or for other reasons. Being compliant and helpful are the best ways to expedite your check.

Airport Security Document, how to get through airport security faster, The Abundant Traveler

Give Yourself Time to Get Through Security

What can stress you out before airport security? Arriving late and having to rush. Plan to arrive at the airport at least 2 hours before domestic flights and 3 hours before international.

Airport Arrival, how to get through airport security faster, The Abundant Traveler

Wear the Right Clothes Through Airport Security

When considering how to get through airport security faster, keeping yourself organized and ready with the right wardrobe is a must. I wear a light jacket with zipper pockets where I can keep my passport and boarding pass like this one. Leave the heavy jewelry and belt buckles at home, as they can set off the alarm as you go through the scanner. Also consider shoes that are easy to take on and off. Once it’s your turn in line, do empty all of your pockets.

Don’t Pack Items Resembling a Weapon

This one can be obvious and a little tricky at the same time. I have been stopped for a wine opener in my luggage and had to toss it in the trash unfortunately. Remember that a pocket knife, scissors and most things sharp will need to stay at home, or go into a checked bag.  

Travel with Credit Card Points!

I love to travel using accrued credit card points which can earn me free flights, access to airport lounges, reimbursement for TSA PreCheck and more! One of my favorites is the Amex Platinum Business Card. 

Remember the 3-1-1 Liquids Rule

Any liquids you plan to pack need to follow the 3-1-1 liquids rule for security. This means each liquid container cannot be more that 3.4 ounces, keep all containers in a clear quart sized bag and each passenger can have one of these clear bags. This is the rule for any liquids, gels, creams, and aerosols you plan to have in your suitcase.

Food at Airport Security

It’s a great idea to pack snacks with you for airport travel. This can help you cut costs, and fight off hunger if there are any delays. Some of my favorite foods to pack are nuts, granola bars, fruit, and crackers. If you plan to pack any peanut butter or hummus – you’ll need to keep them under 3.4 ounces, or spread them on to a sandwich before going through airport security. I’ve had to throw out hummus before going through security, so come prepared! 

Airport Security Snacks, how to get through airport security faster, The Abundant Traveler

Keep Your Electronics Accessible

Bringing a laptop or tablet with you? Pack it in a place that is easily accessible! You’ll need to pull these out to scan separately when going through security.  I put mine either into a laptop specific backpack pocket, or on top of my clothes in my carry-on suitcase. 

Keep Things Moving

The trick for how to get through airport security faster is to keep it moving. First, don’t try to start up a conversation with the security officers as they are trying to move people through the lines quickly. Do be pleasant, by saying hello and being prepared with your documents. 

Once your boarding pass and ID have been checked, pick a line to the left. Humans naturally move towards the right, so in theory the lines to the left can be shorter. I also like to follow business travelers in line as they are savvy in packing efficiently and moving quickly. 

Airport Security Line, How to get through airport security faster

Keep an Eye on Your Items

When placing all of your items on the conveyor belt to be scanned, I like to place my most valuable items first in line. This way I can keep a better eye on them and pick them up first. Remember to empty your pockets, take off your jacket and shoes, and place all items besides your suitcase into a bin. 

Repack the Same Way You Packed

Once you are through airport security, place all of your items back where you originally packed them. This way your muscle memory will be triggered if anything happens to be missing. I also find that this helps me to stay organized. 

Read More!

Click to read top tips for how to overcome your fear of flying. You’ll feel more at ease the next time you fly! 

Use TSA PreCheck or Clear

The ultimate way to save time and skip the line so to say, is to apply for either TSA PreCheck or Clear. Once approved for TSA PreCheck, you’ll receive a Known Traveler Number or “KTN.” You’ll need to add this to your reservation with any airline you plan to fly with. When you check in, you’ll see TSA PreCheck noted on your boarding pass. If you use Clear, you’ll fill out an application and then use biometric scanning at the airport to skip the line. 

Both TSA PreCheck and Clear have fees associated with them, but if you have certain travel credit cards those fees can be covered. I recommend the Chase Mileage card which will cover your costs for TSA, and the AMEX Platinum to cover you costs with Clear. 

TSA Pre Check, Airport security, The Abundant Traveler

Conclusion on how to get through airport security faster

Airport security doesn’t have to be overwhelming or scary if you follow these tips next time you fly. Which tip was most helpful to you? Let me know in the comments below! 

Carry-On Packing Freebie!

Click to get my tops items to pack in your carry-on. Pack easily with these tried and true items on your next trip. 

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