How to minimize airport security hassles


Airport security regulations have lots of us confused. What liquids you can bring on the plane, again? Mark Orwoll, senior contributing editor for Travel + Leisure Magazine, shows how to get through airport security screening with minimum hassle.

How to minimize airport security hassles
  • Arrive early; two hours before departure is generally recommended.
  • Be ready to show your boarding pass and government-issued identification, a passport or driver’s license if necessary.
  • Pack carry-on liquids and gels according to the 3-1-1 rule.
  • Liquids and gels (including toothpaste) must be in three-ounce or smaller containers. Place liquids and gels into a single, quart-size Ziploc bag. You’re allowed only one Ziploc bag. Place your single Ziploc bag into a bin at the security screening table.
  • Exceptions may apply for some liquids such as medicine or baby foods. You can check at
  • Empty your pockets of coins, keys, cell phones, and other metal objects, including heavy jewelry or belts with metal buckles. Place items in a bin.
  • Remove shoes, jackets, and laptop from its case and place in a bin. Wearing slip-on shoes helps you get through faster.
  • Lighters are not allowed to be carried on. Security considers metal nail files and scissors as weapons, so check them or leave them at home. Questionable items will be confiscated.
  • Walk through metal detector when directed with boarding pass in hand.

Hi I'm Mike Orwoll of Travel + Leisure magazine for howdini. It's great to know that our airports are safer thanks to enhanced security measures. Nonetheless, getting through security can be one of the biggest hassles at any airport. Especially if you don't know the simple rules and procedures. Best advice I can give you: arrive early; two hours before your departure is recommended. Next, have your driver's license or passport and boarding pass ready.  They're the first things they're are going to ask for at the security gate.

Okay, now it's your turn. All of your carryons are going to go through an X-ray machine. But some items have to go through separately in the bins provided. For example, gels and liquids. This is where you have to remember the 3-1-1 rule. Liquids have to be in containers of three ounces or less, placed in a one quart zip lock bag, and only one bag per passenger. 

You're going to be walking through a metal detector, so you're going to want to take out all the metals in your pocket, your cell phone, your loose change. Don't forget your laptop. That also has to be taken out of the bag and placed in a bin by itself. Lastly, don't forget you have to remove your jacket and your shoes and place those in the bin. This is a good time to wear those comfortable slip-ons by the way.

Remember that there are restricted items that you can't bring on an airplane. That would include virtually anything that can be used as a weapon. So check it in your luggage, leave it at home, or be prepared to lose it. 

In short, the airport security process is always going to be a little bit of a hassle, but it's actually pretty simple. Just do your preparation, follow the instructions when you get here, and enjoy your flight. 

meet theexpert
  • Mark Orwoll

    Mark Orwoll Senior Consulting Editor, Travel + Leisure Mark Orwoll has appeared numerous times as a travel authority on network and cable television and is the author of Teach Yourself e-Travel Today (Macmillan). more about this expert »

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