Getting through the airport and security can be such a hassle, especially because TSA has been understaffed for a large portion of 2016. Stop spending so much of your precious time waiting in line at the airport. Here are five simple things you can do now to make the security line experience hassle free and expedient.
- Apply for Global Entry now By applying for Global Entry, you also get TSA Pre✓™. TSA Pre✓™ is that short line at airport security that zooms by you in less than 5 minutes, while you sit in line for an hour. Members also don’t have to take off their shoes or jackets and don’t have to take out their computers or liquid goods. Global Entry is a border control program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. If you are an American Express Corporate Gold Card Member, Consumer Platinum Card® Member, Corporate Platinum Card® Member, Business Platinum Card®Member, or Centurion® Card Member, then you get a statement credit for the cost of Global Entry when you charge it to your card. Free and easy sounds good to me!
- Clothing: If you decide not to opt in for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓™, then you will want to wear as few layers as possible, wear slip off shoes (wear socks so you aren’t walking barefoot through security), and skip the belt and jewelry. TSA and other passengers doesn’t care how fashionable you look, but they do care how long you take to get through the security process.
- Carry on luggage: Make sure your computer is easy and quick to access, as you will need to take this out and put it in it’s own bin. Put all of your 3 oz bottles of liquid in a quart size, clear bag and make sure that it’s easy and quick to access as well, because you will need to take that out of your bag for easy display. To avoid all of this, go back to tip #1!
- Before getting in line: Check that your pockets are empty, that your carry-on meets the size dimension requirements, and that you don’t have any of the following items in your carry-on or on your person. Also, drink up any beverage you have or you will be asked to throw it away. If you have a refillable bottle, make sure its empty before going through security. I assure you, no TSA security staff will show you any mercy, no matter how much you spent on that bottle of wine for your friend in Serbia or how much your curly hair needs your 16.9 oz. bottle of Moroccan oil for your trip to Hawaii. Trust me, I speak from experience.
- Early Arrival: Make sure to show up to the airport at least 2 hours before a domestic departure. For international flights, show up 3 hours before your departure. If you have mobility issues or use a wheelchair, make sure to show up 30 minutes earlier as there are extra logistics to go through. Once you have an airport attendant to escort you through security, it’s actually very quick, but sometimes it can take a while to get the attendant. Also, any of your travel companions without mobility issues are invited to go through security with you. There is a trick to avoid showing up 2-3 hours before departure. Check-in for your flight via your phone or computer, up to 24 hours before departure. You can print your boarding pass from home or at your hotel, or access a mobile boarding pass on your smart phone. In addition, you can use curbside check-in at the airport to check your luggage. Gratuity is customary for this service.
There is no reason to spend a lot of time and stress getting though the airport. Follow these tips and you’ll be on to your adventure in no time.