No-Hassle Tips for Getting Through Airport Security


At Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca

At Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca

Travel Tips from Merle Minda


  • First and most important: Get to the airport early!
  1.  No longer can you simply sail up to the airport 45 minutes before your flight departure time;
  2.  Parking is often very full; same with Park n’ Ride lots so it may take a while to find a spot;
  3.  Security takes time – you never know how long those lines (and waits) are going to be – this is especially true if you are traveling on a weekend or holiday or even a busy weekday.
  4. Don’t take chances; arrive early (2 hours or so before your flight) – get through security and then you can relax, shop, eat or just hang out with the comforting knowledge that you are completely checked in.
  5.  Also be sure to get to your gate NO LESS THAN 30 MINUTES BEFORE THE DEPARTURE TIME. You can get bumped if you are not there – and also, if you are there, you might snag an upgrade!
  •  Be Prepared: Get ready for airport security beforeleaving home:   
  1.  Put carry-on-on liquids, no more than 3 ounces each, in one see-through, 1-quart plastic bag;
  2.  Put all metal items, keys, cell phone, watch, clunky jewelry, etc. in a plastic bag or in a purse that can go through the scanner bin; unpack your computer for the scanner.
  3.  Keep Christmas presents and gifts unwrapped.
  •  At the airport:
  1. Take off shoes, jackets or cardigans, coats, (wear slip-off shoes – it’s easier);
  2.  Men, take off your belt;
  3.  Take out your computer; put it and other electronics in a bin for the scanner belt.
  4.  Wear clothes without metal in them, like jeans – TIP: Jeans have lots of metal (zippers, grommets, studs, etc.) and often will get you pulled over for an extra scan or pat-down.
  •  Pat-downs and airport scanners:
  1.  Follow all directions from TSA personnel;
  2. Don’t wise-crack, complain or make jokes;
  3. Let TSA personnel know if you have a metal implant in your body;
  4. The pat-down is over in a few seconds and, although indeed they are more intrusive than they used to be, keep in mind that the TSA people are just doing their jobs;
  5. The body scanners use a tiny amount of electromagnetic waves; the radiation emitted is minimal, equal to natural exposure during 2 minutes of flying.
  6. Scan images: Yes, TSA personnel see a body image, but they are not interested in you or your body; they are just looking for any problem materials.
  7. You may refuse the scanner but then you will definitely have a more extensive pat-down search.

 Best advice: Follow TSA orders, don’t complain and just get through it quickly.

If you don’t cooperate fully, you may not be allowed to fly!

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  1. Posted June 28, 2011 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    Great overview. And, now that I have an ereader (Kindle), I’m looking forward to not carrying around magazines, newspapers and other waiting-time reading materials. They get surprisingly heavy.

    • Posted August 24, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      Ok I am gonna chime in on this issue. I agree with ryan, it seems that people are wiinllg to quickly relinquish their personal freedoms in the name of pseudo-security. Please understand that we are talking about TSA screeners, not trained counter terrorist personnel, and as such there are opportunities of abuse. Such as seen this week when Gloria Allred had to get involved in a case because a TSA screener forced a woman to remove her nipple piercing with pliers!!! The scanners are not XRAY!!!! they will show the shape of your private areas. I have traveled through some of the most dangerous airports in the world, including Isreal and their security carry weapons and have the greenlight to shoot to kill. Now if our military took over the security of the Airports, and did the same thing, It would cause public outrage!!!! I trust our military more.

  2. Posted November 11, 2011 at 4:14 am | Permalink

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    • Posted February 29, 2012 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      “No.” As soon as I spteped in the thing I realized that indeed it was a lovely nude image machine and that I had been blatantly lied to. Had I known what it was, I would have requested a delightful frisk… at least I know a woman would be performing the procedure.. who knows who look at the nudey images. Quite frankly I can get over the fact that some perv is making some very inappropriate observances, but with the obscene amount of radiation I undergo on a yearly basis (between flying more than 100,000 miles per year and I also generally get around 5 to 10 x-rays on a yearly basis for medical reasons), I feel tremendously violated by these things. I really am tired of people disagreeing with my opinion and accusing me of ‘supporting terrorists’ by having a problem with this. (Yes, people can be very ignorant in regard to the bigger picture). I could go on and on but will leave you with that. Unfortunately there’s not a whole lot I can do about this atrocity except complain in comment form on a blog 🙁 Thanks for the great post!

      • Posted June 9, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

        I flew twice last week and was surprised out how miaminl all of this was at those airports. I flew out of Philadelphia, and they didn’t even have the scanners. They also didn’t make anyone take out their laptops like usual. In Las Vegas, they had the scanners but only random people had to go through them. Everyone else went through the x-ray. I wasn’t asked to go through and neither was my husband.The security is ridiculous. People are stopped and harassed for things that are totally explainable (like the soldiers returning from the Middle East that still had explosive residue on their uniforms and were not allowed on the plane), but others get through with all kinds of contraband. A terrorist has nothing to lost if caught, so why not just try to get through security? They have a decent chance!I like the other poster’s idea about baseball bats.

        • Posted August 24, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

          What tsa screening ? Its a joke . I pellrnasoy know of someone who (accidently) got through carrying a 6-8 inch long fixed blade hunting knife. Heres my real question why are armed pilots being searched. I mean they have been given the right to carry a loaded gun onboard but if they have nail clippers that posses a security threat? WHY? If hes gonna go nuts he wont use nail clippers. If you really want to increase security go back to pre 911 screening (yes that means no longer groping the public). But give everyone walking onto the plane a baseball bat. Even if a terrorist or nut case gets a box cutter on the airplane or if they decided to use the bat the amount of damage will be minimal . A cabin full of bat carrying individuals should be able to restore piece if someone tries something stupid.

  3. Posted February 29, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Fear leads to drtsaic measures. Clearly the nation has not overcome its fear – it’s just snowballed into expensive, potentially health hazardous body scans by complete strangers…best way to protest this is by not only ACLU lawsuits but…STOP flying. Utilize your freedom of speech by being a conscious consumer. Also, hand out flyers to travelers outside airports informing them about their right to privacy and the potential risks of a full body scan….eventually the issue will reach a critical mass (if it hasn’t already) and a positive change may come. Passengers need to be informed of their rights! And that their rights are protected by the CONSTITUTION!

    • Posted June 9, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      I’d let them finger me in the borhtaom if it meant a safer flight. That’s an interesting idea, but it’s a complicated question. Those who endorse the security checks are mostly speaking out of well-founded fear. Security, national and/or personal, is a valid argument to support the checks. I personally feel that patdowns and safe scanners are not scary. I’ll feel a teeny bit safer if everyone on the plane has been scanned. HOWEVER, that being said, I warn you it isn’t wise to so casually give up your personal rights in exchange for what is called safety. Are we going to continue to have these measures in place in perpetuity? If not, who will decide when the threat is gone? You may not mind being fingered, but I’m sure you don’t think it would be fine to let them finger EVERYONE. Some people have a VERY strong aversion to being fingered. So strong, in fact, that they might never recover emotionally. It does seem strange to me, but true . . . Anyway scanning and searching just seems over-the-top to me. Like a step towards living in a police state. The next thing you’ll see is scanning and searching is occurring in schools, and downtown, buses, etc. . . How much freedom are we willing to give up for security? When will the balance of power tip so far over that we find that we are no longer safe, and our protectors have become our enemies/overlords, as has happened again and again throughout history. Nazi Germany comes to mind. So do the revolutionary communist governments of China, USSR, N. Korea, Romania, etc. On another note, The X-ray type scanners are actually dangerous. The radiation can cause health problems.

      • Posted August 24, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

        Okay, I have a question. We go troguhh the pat downs / full body scanners, all is good, we make it to the other side. Now, my family and I haven’t eaten so we go to one of the Restaurants to get something to eat. My husband orders a steak and is given a steak knife to use. Whose to stop him from slipping that knife in his pocket and boarding the plane? What I am saying is that it still doesn’t appear to beas secure as they are making it seem.On the flip side, I have no problem with the full body scanner nor the pat-down. I have a 16 year old daughter and a 14 year old son. I suppose I would rather them be a little uncomfortable with the scan then blown up in the air. The TSA isn’t going to pay that much attention to the person’s body, think of how many they have to see each day.

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