4 Tips for Flying the Friendly Skies, Faster

More people travel by air today, than ever before.

Here’s a little known fact, roughly 1.8 million passengers pass through our nation’s airports in a single day.

What does this mean? Transportation Security Administration (TSA) works around the clock to ensure passengers safely reach their destinations and on time, too.

Whether you are traveling domestically or internationally, you may want to think about these four points while at airport screening checkpoints because they can make for quick, hassle-free travel; something every passenger strives for.

Passport for Gaining Momentum

1. Airplanes usually reach a cruising altitude of up to 39,000 feet or more. But, in order for you to even soar to this level, think about what you are intending to travel with; take the case of electronics, for instance. Whenever possible, do not pack over-sized electronics in checked baggage. This includes full-size video game consoles, laptops, DVD players and video cameras that require the use of cassettes. Why? These items must be removed from carry-on bags and submitted separately for X-ray screening, which can cause undue stress during your screening process. However, small electronics, such as tablets, smartphones and various other mobile/and or portable electronic devices can remain in carry-on baggage.

2. The removal of one’s shoes during airport screening has become increasingly important in recent years. Moreover, TSA instituted mandatory shoe screening as an added precautionary measure, when the threat level for the aviation sector was raised on August 10, 2006. According to the TSA, screening shoes by X-ray is an effective method for detecting any type of anomalies, including explosives. Simply remove shoes before entering the screening technology and put them directly on the belt to go through the X-ray machine, instead of in a bin with other items. To make this portion of screening a little more easier, you can wear slip-on shoes. This allows travelers to remove and replace their shoes quickly, eliminating the need to sit down.

3. We all love to exchange gifts, especially during Christmas time. And, although you might be tempted to adorn your gift with pretty packaging or gift wrapping, don’t. If a security officer needs to inspect a package, they may have to unwrap the gift, which means you just wasted both time and material to wrap your present. Just to be on the safe side, refrain from wrapping gifts until first arriving at your final destination.

4. Aviation pioneers, the Wright brothers, would be elated to know more people travel by air today, than any time in aviation history. As part of this growing population, sometimes, just sometimes, you may have to be searched a few more times and here’s why. Again, transportation security officers (TSOs) have to resolve any oddities detected at the checkpoint. If travelers set off a red flag when passing through a metal detector or advanced imaging technology (AIT) unit, additional screening will be required.

How can additional screening be avoided? Prior to passing through the advanced imaging technology unit, TSA strongly urges the removal of all items from pockets. This includes the removal of certain accessories such as cell phones, wallets, belts, bulky jewelry, money and keys, as well. Removing these items will reduce the chance of needing additional screening after exiting this machine. The officer viewing the image cannot see the passenger, so any irregularity that appears on the screen will require inspection on their part to determine exactly what the object is.

Up, Up and Away

No matter if you are booked to take connecting flights or have a straight flight, you can make your trip more comfortable by planning ahead to avoid possible mishaps during screening. The TSA urges that when in doubt, leave it out. Pretty soon you’ll be hearing, “The Captain has turned off the fasten seat belt sign.”

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-Kimberly Williams

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