This blog post was updated on September 12, 2014.

Holiday Travel: How to Get Through Security Fast, Flickr: Inha Leex Hale

Be Prepared!

You have your boarding pass, and you’re ready to go! And then, you see that long line – that’s all you see. The security checkpoint is too far away for you to even notice it. As you stand there, thumbing your ID and waiting for even the slightest sign of movement, you dream of a world that’s somehow … better. If only everyone had his act together, somehow, holiday travel would be so much easier.

Well, here’s the how using these travel tips.

If everyone would take on these five simple steps, the airport wouldn’t have to be the worst part of holiday travel. In fact, you wouldn’t even notice it. So, spread the word: the next time you’re going through airport security; this is what you should do:


ID and boarding pass: these two items are easy – why would you put them in your pocket anyway? Make sure you have a free hand, and keep your license (or passport) and boarding pass in it. You know you’re going to have to show them to get to the conveyor belt, so it doesn’t make sense to act surprised at the moment of truth. Just be ready.

Pockets: change, key ring, maybe a lighter … they’re all sure to make the alarm chime, invoking the ire of the hundreds of people behind you who just want to get over the river and through the woods. Waiting until you get to security to put them in the tray is a waste of time, for you and everyone behind you. Instead, while you’re waiting, just take them out and throw them in your bag. It’s faster and easier.


Shoes and belt: sure, you never know what to expect with these clothing items. Some airports don’t make you shed them, but if you play the odds, you might as well take them off. Hey, you’re waiting in line – you have time to kill! Maybe you’ll inspire a few people around you to do the same. And if they inspire the people around them … you can see where I’m going, here.

Electronics: there’s no gray area on this one. You know you’re laptop will have to come out of the bag. There’s no reason to wait until you’re standing over the conveyor belt to lug it out of the bag, reach for a tray and so on. Take it out in advance; you know what’s coming.

The “stack”:
this is where it all comes together. While you’re in line, hold your laptop in one hand, and get ready to use it as a tray. Put your shoes on top of it, and your belt on top of your shoes. Fold your coat and put it on top of your belt. Too easy.

Now, when you get to the conveyor belt, pull two trays. Put then entire stack in one. Then, lift your shoes – you’ll find that the belt and coat come with it! Put this second pile in the second tray. Now, you’re ready for your body scan.

If everyone did this, of course, the security checkpoint would be a total breeze. Set an example for your fellow travelers, and send this post to friends and family who are hopping on planes for the holiday season. You’ll make the world a better place.


Tom Johansmeyer is a
frequent business traveler and group marketing director for IR
and Corporate
. His
latest project is Inside IPO. Tom is a
recovering travel blogger, having previously written for Gadling and


Photo: Inha Leex Hale

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