Are you one of those people who loves to travel but hates to fly? For many travelers, this sentiment begins with the dreaded airport security check. In a perfect world, travelers would spend less time in line, avoid personal searches, and feel more relaxed in general. Fortunately, there are several ways that you can speed up the airport security process, especially if you’re willing to do a bit of planning and preparation. If you’re expecting to travel on business or pleasure anytime soon, you might want to consider the following tips.
Register for TSA Precheck
Ever since 2011, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has offered a Precheck (“Pre✓”) program that allows pre-approved, low-risk travelers to receive expedited screening for domestic flights and some international flights. This program is available for U.S. citizens and permanent U.S. residents at more than 150 airports. The pre-approval process involves completing a background check, being fingerprinted and paying an $85 fee. If the process goes smoothly, registered travelers get a Known Traveler Number that helps expedite their airport security process for five years. The approval process takes some time and planning, though, so if you’re interested in this option, don’t wait until the last minute. Additional information on this service can be found at www.tsa.gov/precheck.
Consider Other Airports
The main reason security checks can slow to a crawl is a high volume of travelers. Booking a flight through a less-used airport can speed up the security process, to say nothing of other factors such as parking and getting to your gate.
If you’re not already familiar with the airport and its layout, do a little research before you go. Find out if curbside check-in is offered and if there’s more than one security checkpoint. If so, you might be able to go straight to a faster checkpoint. And, of course, print or download your boarding pass before you leave for the airport.
Even if you’re dressed for business, it’s a good idea to bring a pair of slip-on shoes or slippers with you when you go through security. Leave your business shoes in your carry-on bag and wear the slip-on shoes in the airport to avoid fumbling with footwear at the scanner. Likewise, keep your clothing simple and avoid wearing a lot of jewelry or unnecessary metal items.
Keep a “Security Bag”
When you’re scrambling to empty your pockets and take off (and then put back on) your belt and shoes at the plastic bins, it’s easy to lose track of one or more of your personal items. Using a dedicated, collapsible bag for all of these small items can help keep you organized and prevent any confusion or backtracking.
It’s a good idea to pack your carry-on bag neatly, as this will help move things along if your luggage needs to be opened by the TSA. Also, any liquids in your carry-on bags must be in containers that are 3.4 ounces or less. To facilitate screening, these containers should all be packed in a single zip-lock plastic bag. (If you have cosmetics and toiletries of greater volume, remember to pack them in your checked luggage.) Finally, remember to take out your laptop at the plastic bins and to unlock your luggage before you go through screening.
Arrive On Time
Mistakes do happen, but they’re even more likely to happen if you’re running late and in a rush. Most major airlines suggest that travelers arrive at the airport at least two hours prior to a domestic flight and three hours prior to an international flight. One way to make sure that you arrive on time is to use a professional transportation service. This also eliminates the parking process and typically is a safer and more comfortable experience than driving. It’s great for the return trip as well: Nothing beats knowing that a limousine or private car is waiting for you after a long flight.
Based in Norwalk, Connecticut, Teddy’s Transportation System provides professionally managed, dependable transportation services in Fairfield and Westchester Counties and the New York metropolitan area. We also provide competitively priced airport car service to all New York area airports, as well as airports in and around White Plains, Hartford, New Haven, Boston, Providence and Albany. For more information on Teddy’s, go to www.teddyslimousine.com or call 800-888-3339.