Avoiding a headache at airport security simply requires organization and preparation. Here are some tips for getting through security quickly.
Pack Smart. Your carry on should be a layer of clothes, then electronic, more clothes, and then any heavier items. This will help transportation security officers see what's in your bag. Innocent items can actually appear to be potential threats in an X-ray image, simply by the way they are packed.
Dress the Part. Security officers have to identify any metal that is detected at the checkpoint. If the metal detector alarms when you pass through, you will be required to undergo additional screening. This includes a hand-wand and pat-down inspection. Take out body piercings, avoid clothing with a lot of metal pieces and try to wear a pair of comfortable slip on shoes, as all travelers are now required to take off their shoes at security.
Be Prepared. Do you have your boarding pass and passport with you? Are they at the bottom of your bag? Keeping all your papers and documents easily accessible will help you move through security quickly.
Arrive on Time. Arrival time recommendations vary by airline and day of travel, so check with your carrier. Most suggest you check in two hours before boarding. Remember to give yourself adequate time to check your baggage and move through security.
Think Before You Speak. Belligerent behavior, inappropriate jokes and threats are treated very seriously. It’s best to keep any sarcastic or rude remarks to yourself or else you may find yourself missing your flight while being interrogated by security officials.
While airline passengers have to deal with constant changes in airport security, airline baggage rules, and even in the kinds of items that are prohibited and restricted from airline flights, a lot of the basic common sense suggestions for flying safely and with minimum hassle haven't changed much at all.
Fly on Nonstop Routings
Most airliner accidents happen during the takeoff, climb, descent, and landing phase of flight, so the easiest way to reduce your chance of getting in an accident is to take fewer flights. If you have a choice, and there isn't much difference in price, flying nonstop would not only reduce exposure to the most accident prone phases of flight, but it will probably take quite a bit of time off your trip too.
Choose Larger Aircraft
Currently, aircraft with more than 30 passenger seats were all designed and certified under the strictest regulations. Also, in the unlikely event of a serious accident, larger aircraft provide a better opportunity for passenger survival. If you review AirSafe.com's list of fatal airline passenger events by aircraft model, you'll see that larger aircraft models tend to have better survival statistics.
Pay Attention to the Preflight Briefing
Although the information seems repetitious, the locations of the closest emergency exits may be different depending on the aircraft that you fly on and seat you are in. Some passenger safety briefings include a few words about the position to take in an emergency landing, and AiSafe.com has put together a video below that goes into much greater detail, showing six common crash positions.
Keep the Overhead Storage Bin Free of Heavy Articles
Overhead storage bins may not be able to hold very heavy objects during turbulence, so if you or another passenger have trouble lifting an article into the bin, have it stored elsewhere. A heavy bag falling out of an overhead bin can cause a serious injury, so if one is above your head, try to move the bag or change your seat.
Keep Your Seat Belt Fastened While You are Seated
Keeping the belt on when you are seated provides that extra protection you might need to help you avoid injuries from flight turbulence.
Listen to the Flight Attendants
The primary reason flight attendants are on an aircraft is for safety, so if one of them asks you to do something like fasten your seat belts, do it first and ask questions later. You can also take other steps to improve your safety and comfort in the cabin like wearing comfortable clothes. You should also get up a walk around on longer flights to help avoid problems like deep vein thrombosis.
Don't Bring Any Hazardous Material
There are rather long lists of hazardous materials that are not allowed, but common sense should tell you that you shouldn't bring gasoline, corrosives, poisonous gases, and other such items on the aircraft unless they were allowed by the airline and shipped in a proper container. While the list of banned materials is too long to remember, you should take the time to find out about the most common prohibited and hazardous items you should not bring on board.
Let the Flight Attendant Pour Your Hot Drinks
Flight attendants are trained to handle hot drinks like coffee or tea in a crowded aisle on a moving aircraft, so allow them to pour the drink and hand it too you.
Don't Drink Too Much
The atmosphere in an airliner cabin is pressurized to about the same altitude as Denver, so any alcohol you consume will affect you more strongly than at sea level. Moderation is a good policy at any altitude, and in the air limiting your drinking is a good way to reduce the chance of an air rage incident involving you or someone else. Also, you may want to find out more about the long-term psychological effects of alcoholism.
Keep Your Wits About You
In the unlikely event that you are involved in an emergency situation such as a precautionary emergency evacuation, follow the directions of the flight attendants and flight crew and exit the aircraft as quickly as possible. Bonus tip: You might find that wearing hearing protection during your next flight may relieve ear popping and pressure, and make your next flight more quiet and comfortable.