Nobody likes going through airport security, but knowing all the rules is a good way to make the process less stressful. So that the next time you’re in an airport, you can clear airport security in a breeze.
How to Go Through Airport Security Faster
1. Don’t Bring Any Items That Aren’t Allowed in Hand Baggage
There are some obvious items that you shouldn’t bring in your hand baggage, like explosives, firearms, knives, liquids over 3.4 oz, and drugs. But there are quite a few items that people often don’t know are banned in hand baggage.
- Power tools
- Faulty electronic devices with lithium batteries
- Trekking poles
- Tent poles and tent stakes
- Pocket knives
- Corrosive chemicals (bleach, paint stripper, acetone)
- Power banks over 160 Wh capacity (depends on the voltage, but usually the maximum is 30,000 mAh)
- Large, blunt objects
2. Get TSA PreCheck
TSA PreCheck lines are much quicker because passengers don’t need to remove anything from their bags. They also don’t have to take off bulky jackets, belts, and shoes. They only have to empty their pockets and take off watches and large jewelry.
To apply, you’ll have to pay a 78$ fee and subscribe for five years, after which you’ll need to renew it. You’ll also need to go to a 10-minute interview with the TSA agents so that they can do a background check on you.
3. Keep Items That You’ll Need to Remove From Your Bag Closeby
If you’re bringing a carry-on and a personal item, keep everything you’ll need to remove in one bag. This way, you won’t need to open up two bags at the airport security.
4. Learn Which Items Count as Solids and Which as Liquids
Anything that’s easily spreadable or moves by itself when turned upside down is considered a liquid by the TSA. This includes peanut butter, mascara (and any other liquid makeup items), hair gel and pastes, toothpaste, roll-on deodorant, and other similar items. They all need to be packed in your 1 quart/liter toiletry bag and be in containers below 3.4 oz (100 ml).
5. Avoid Carrying Powders in Large Quantities
Although powders above 350 g (12 oz) are allowed in hand baggage, they require additional screening. And if the security agents can’t determine what exactly this powder is, they will discard it.
What to Remove and Keep Inside During Airport Security
Learning what to remove and what to keep inside can be daunting. But if you categorize items, it becomes much simpler.
Remove Large Electronics, Liquids, and Aerosols
- Power banks
- Wireless headphones
- Nintendo Switch
- Other lithium battery electronic devices larger than a cell phone
- Powders over 350 g (12 oz)
Keep Inside Wired Electronics, Solid Toiletries, and Chargers
- Metal objects
- Solid toiletry items
- Wired electronics
- AirPods and wireless earbuds
- Chargers, cables, and wires
- Food and snacks
- Medicine (dry)
Take Off Your Watch, Bulky Jewelry, and Empty Your Pockets
- Large necklaces, rings, and earrings
- Shoes (only if flying in the USA)
- Keys, coins, and your wallet
- Bulky jackets and coats
- Your cell phone
- Handbags and fanny packs
- E-cigarettes and vapes
You Can Keep Wearing Glasses, Hats, and Small Jewelry
- Small earrings, watches, and necklaces
- Glasses and sunglasses
- Hats and headpieces
- Gloves and other clothing accessories
- Face masks