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How to Get Through Airport Security and Still Make Your Flight 
 
by Maria F May 19, 2005

Leaving for the Airport

Take into consideration traffic at the hour you will be leaving so you arrive at the airport two hours before your flight leaves. If you will be leaving your vehicle in a long-term parking lot, remember that you still have to get from the parking lot to the terminal. It makes a big difference.

At the Airport

  • Do not leave your luggage unattended
  • Do not accept baggage/packages from a stranger

Arrival Time

    Arrive two hours before your flight is scheduled for take off. Take this seriously. Gates close early, and you may not be let on. Security screening takes time too.

ID

    Keep your forms of ID easily accessible. You will need to show it at every checkpoint.

At the Screening Checkpoint

    Place in the plastic bins the following:

  • Coins
  • Cell phone/pager/PDA
  • Keys
  • Belt buckles
  • Hair clips
  • Take your laptop and camcorder out of their cases and put them in the bin provided.
  • You may be instructed to place shoes in the bin.
  • Jackets and coats need to be placed on the conveyor belt to go through x-ray
  • When you are given the signal, you may proceed through the metal detector.

If You Are Selected for Special Consideration

    You could feel honored, but like me, most people are going to wonder why they were chosen. Try to stay calm and cooperate. Screeners are working their shift, not going anywhere. Whining about missing your flight is not going to get you through quicker.

How a Pat-down Goes

    Screeners are to tell you what they are about to do. While you stand with your legs spread and your arms out to the side, a large hand-held wand will be passed over you, front and back. A pat-down search will be conducted by a member of your gender. The back of the hand should be used on the breast area (women), genitals, and buttocks. You may request to be screened in a private location. Finally, you may be asked to sit in a chair while they inspect the soles of your feet with your shoes off. Again, the wand may be passed over you. Your carry-on bag may be unpacked for a visual inspection. Usually you are allowed to repack, especially if there are any medical supplies/medicine.

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