How to Get Through Airport Security Faster

Security checkpoint at airport
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We've all been stuck behind one: the traveler at airport security with liquids packed in his suitcase, an ID buried in his pockets (overflowing with change) and no clue (or concern) that he's keeping you and everyone else from moving through security faster. Don't be that guy. Save yourself——and others -- from unnecessary delays at the airport by learning a few simple strategies for getting through airport security lines faster.

  • 01 of 04

    Dress for Travel

    taking off shoes at security check
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    Wear slip-on shoes if possible, and avoid items with metal buckles and buttons. Don't head to the checkpoint with lots of layers on; remove jackets/bulky sweaters early in the security line. Be sure to empty pockets of keys, mobile phones, and change before you get to the x-ray machine.

  • 02 of 04

    Pack Smart

    TSA agent screening bag
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    Know what you can (and can't) carry onboard by making yourself familiar with TSA regulations. Layer items neatly in your suitcase and keep your plastic bag of toiletries/liquids in an outer pocket for easy access at the checkpoint.

  • 03 of 04

    Get a Security-Friendly Laptop Bag

    laptop airport security
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    Stop fumbling with your computer at the checkpoint with a new, security-approved laptop bag. The Transportation Security Administration is now allowing business travelers toting bags that meet new “checkpoint friendly” standards to leave their laptops in their bags through security. Options are still limited, and specific rules apply.

  • 04 of 04

    Avoid Peak Travel Times

    long airport check-in lines
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    Sometimes unavoidable, but if you can plan your travels to avoid the peak airport times (6:30 to 9:30 AM and 3:30 to 7:30 PM), your chances of getting through security faster will improve. Some times of year—holidays, spring break season, special sporting events—will always be bad, so prepare yourself for the agitation ahead of time.