Safety and necessity aside, airport security can be a bit of a Debbie Downer when you are beyond eager to get those glorious duty free shops. I’m definitely not suggesting that you will have full control of how quickly you can get through, but I have got a few pointers that will speed you up for sure.
It goes without saying that you are not to pack any of the banned items and that your liquids should be 100ml or under and in a clear 20cm x 20cm ziplock bag, but if you are uncertain of what is and isn’t allowed check out British Airways’ Banned and Restricted Items.
I aim to have everything out and ready just before I get to the front of the line so I don’t back everyone up at the conveyor belt.
I put my passport away securely because I won’t need it for a little while.
I take off my watch and put it securely in my bag.
I take my coat/jacket off – if I’m wearing one – and fold it up.
I take out my liquids bag, phone and laptop.
This means that by the time I get to my box tray, I only have two things to do which are put it all in the tray and take my shoes off.
Some airports require you to take your shoes off so that they can be scanned. The best thing to do is keep this in mind when picking your travel shoes. Avoid shoes which are difficult to take off and put back on again but in saying that, if you are going to wear slip-ons please wear socks to walk through. Who knows how many dirty bare feet have walked that floor, so steer clear of those germs and cover your feet.
PFH Top Tip: Try not to wear white socks because they will turn black by the time you get your shoes back – I wore white trainer socks under my white converse when flying to Morocco and I was genuinely shocked at how quickly my soles changed colour!
Try not to wear excessive jewellery when travelling, for example necklaces and bracelets. I understand if you have some sentimental pieces that you always wear or wear for luck when travelling, so my advice is to put it in a little bag and keep it safe in your hand luggage until you have made it through security where you can put it on. I prefer to do this because I don’t want to risk forgetting or dropping anything small.
When I went to Paris for NYE I received the highly coveted Gucci belt as a belated Christmas present. I wore it every chance I got including to travel home in, totally forgetting why I don’t travel with a belt. It’s so inconvenient to take off and put back on again with everything else going on. Never mind what a faff this is, I also find it super awkward to fiddle about near your crotch in front of a bunch of strangers.
Whilst sticking to the rules – tray content requirements vary at different airports – try to use as few trays as possible. It’s easier to pick up and move one tray of lose belongings and it means you don’t have to wait so long for it to all come through. Also be helpful and stack the empty trays at the end, this is actually one of my pet peeves. There is always someone who complains that their belongings are taking forever to come through, and yet they are the same people who leave their multiple trays on the belt after they have retrieved their things. Empty trays block the belt and hold everyone up, create good karma and stack the empty ones, even if they’re not yours, it’s good travel etiquette. Speaking of, don’t hang around at the end of the belt, there are chairs provided for you to put your shoes and coat back on, take advantage of this for some personal space after what can be an invasive experience.
These tips are surprisingly simple, I know, but they are so efficient. Some seem so insignificant but they have not only saved me time by just being one little step ahead but it prevents me from forgetting and leaving anything behind.
Though my tips are to help you get in and out as quickly and as fuss free as possible not everything is in our control, so don’t stress if someone else holds you up or if you get picked for a random search test, remember it’s all in place for our security.