So you’ve learned how to pack with just carry-on luggage, now how do you get through TSA security without breaking a sweat? By being organized.
The first step is to check the TSA website for any changes to security proceedure the week of your flight. For example, during the holidays, people often visit family and friends, and bring presents. It doesn’t seem like a problem but if presents are wrapped they cause a security concern for TSA, who will most likely pull you aside and unwrap them. The solution? Bring folded wrapping paper and or gift bags and tissue paper and wrap presents after arriving at your destination.
Second, make sure if it is a carry-on suitcase, then it is packed neatly and not thrown together. If the bag is haphazardly packed, TSA will have trouble differentiating perfectly normal items from ones that are banned, possibly slowing you down through security. Also, it is always helpful to have liquids (of NO more than THREE ounces in ONE quart sized bag per traveller) placed either at the top of a carry-on by the zippers or easily accessible in a purse or top pocket so you can throw them in the bin with your shoes, jacket and laptop (removed from its case).
Third, ensure that a government issued photo ID and boarding pass are handy before arriving at security and be prepared to physically walk through security. Work from the head down: Remove all hats and sunglasses, as TSA needs to see all passengers’ faces. Have all coats, sweaters, hoodies, and zip-ups off and ready to be placed in a bin or already stowed in a suitcase. Don’t wear jewelry, or make sure to take it off before you get to the front of the security line. Remove belts and ensure all pockets are empty of items such as wallets, phones, and change. Finally, wear slip-on shoes or shoes with easy zips. It makes life easier when going through security, especially with children. Do all this prior to reaching the front of the security line and you’ll fly through the security process.
Finally, if travelling with infants and children make sure you know what is and is not acceptable. Children that can walk, must walk through security scanners and/or metal detectors by themselves. Parents may carry infants through, but make sure not to have them in a front or back carry pack or be prepared for additional screening. Also, parents of infants and children should know that items such as breast milk are not subject to the 3-1-1 rule, just make sure TSA is told before you go through the metal detector or body scanner. Furthermore, if travelling with strollers, take the child out, fold it up and place through the scanner with luggage.
Further information is available at the TSA website. Ultimately, be organized, be prepared, and have a plan and you’ll know what it is like to breeze through security.