I did something today I haven’t done in a while, went through the regular security line. It was awful, and the behavior I witnessed in the line has prompted this post – how to go through security without infuriating everyone (or just me).
Now, Ellie why weren’t you in the Pre-Check line? I will tell you – US Airways. That’s why. I haven’t flown US Airways in years, and updated my profile with my preferred traveller number yesterday. However, not only did my preferred traveller number not update, but they were unable to fix this at the desk when I brought this issue up to them. I begrudgingly resigned to the regular line.
Now, this line I was forced into had only about 10 people in it. By any estimation, this is a light load, but it was fraught with the trifecta of security line bottlenecks – a passenger in a wheelchair, a family, and an obviously inexperienced traveller. If I had the choice to find another line, I would have. I find nothing more frustrating than the inability of people to follow simple instructions that have been the same for nearly 10 years – shoes off, pockets empty, liquids and computers out. I am looking at you, guy who sets off the alarm because he forgot to take out his wallet, and you woman who has full size cosmetics in your carry on. It is shocking.
Enough ranting. Here is how you go through security without causing a bottle neck.
- Think ahead – Put your liquids on the top of your bag before you zipper it up. Wear shoes that slip on and off easily. Keep jewelry to a minimum. Don’t wear a belt if you don’t need it.
- Approach wisely – As soon as you see the bins, estimate the number you will need. I usually travel with two computers, liquids, a briefcase/shoulder bag, and roll-aboard suitcase. That means, 1 bin per computer, 1 for the shoulder bag, 1 for the liquids, shoes and miscellaneous items.
- Put away your ID – You have already shown your ID, so put it away quickly. Security is a major place where people lose their ID, and unless you’re going home, you’re going to need it to get back.
- Grab the bins and stack – No one likes that person who has 5 bins lined up taking up the entire runway up to the scanner. Grab your bins, and start putting things in and stacking them. I usually start with the computers, stack those, add the one with the bag, then the last one with the shoes, liquids and miscelleous items. Don’t put your roll-aboard on the conveyor until you are the next one through the scanner. This means, you are taking up one bin worth of real estate on the conveyor up until your stuff is going in at which point, separate them out and put the roll-aboard on the belt. This whole process, if planned correctly, should take less than a minute.
- Get your stuff and move– That guy with 5 bins we were waiting for going through the belt creates a bottleneck on the flip side too. All five of his bins are likely in a poor order and do not allow for efficient repacking. Based on how I put things in, the first bin is shoes/miscellaneous, next is my bag into which most of those go into, then the two computers that go right into the bag. Since I took my liquids out and re-zipped the roll-aboard, I can grab all the items, roll away and put them back in later. As you remove things from bins, stack them right up again and deposit them in the holders to be nice. Boom. Done.
This shouldn’t be that hard, but it is alarming how often people make this a mess and giant frustration for other more seasoned travelers. As for US Air – I don’t anticipate I will be flying them anytime soon. Highlight of the flight – when gogoinflight wireless thought that thenotquiteadult was a porn site. Always one for feedback, I let gogo know and got a free wireless code out of it. Not bad customer service. Here’s to 3 more nights in a hotel bed before I have one in my own, and then leave for 4 more.
Image via CFDA tumblr via Pinterest