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Common Mistakes At Security Checkpoints

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Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid at Security Checkpoints

Even if you are planning for the best trip, there may be some unexpected troubles that can creep up on you and throw a monkey wrench into your plans. Most travelers, if not all, have encountered some sort of travel snafu.

The mantra “what can go wrong, will go wrong” rings true more often than not. From minor incidences, like forgetting to pack sunscreen for a beach holiday, to major problems, such as losing your luggage or missing a flight, unexpected issues may arise during travel.

One such snafu all too common amongst even the most seasoned flyers is getting stopped at airport security for one reason or another. And it can happen at any airport, large (i.e. JFK airport or Dulles IAD) or smaller (i.e. Austin AUS or Reagan DCA airport). Let's look at the most common faux paus…


1. Leaving your jacket on

You got to security with enough time to board without stress, you have your boarding pass and proper form of ID in one hand, and you just placed your carry-on bag on the carousel, and as you approach the scanner you’re called out for not taking off your jacket. Now you have to fight upstream to get a bin and go through the process all over again!

2. Not taking out your laptop

This is one of the most common errors made. All electronic devices must be removed from carry-on luggage, pockets, etc, and placed in a separate bin.

3. Not using a TSA approved lock

By locking your luggage, you can protect your belongings from theft, misuse, and tampering. While locks play a very important role in keeping the travelers’ possessions safe, TSA protocol demands that baggage can be inspected if necessary.

If the luggage is secured with the TSA approved locks, the inspector can simply use a universal master key to open the luggage without breaking the locks, or in extreme cases where you can’t find your key or forget your combination, they can break it open.


4. Liquids, liquids, liquids

Didn’t get to finish that coke before you checked-in and just stuffed it in your backpack thinking you’ll finish it before security? Thought that cute bottle of hand lotion you like to use every 30 mins was small enough?

You have to be very specific about carrying any liquid or gel item in your carry-on luggage. Any liquids should not be more than 3.4 ounces and should be placed in a clear plastic bag, but make sure it is only one quart-sized bag per passenger for storing things like your toiletries as part of the things you’re allowed to take on your flight.

5. Gift-wrapping that surprise

When you are bringing a present to your destination, it is recommended not to wrap it. For security reasons, security personnel can ask you to open that particular article, which is covered in wrapping paper. It will not only slow you down, but will ruin your lovely wrapping job.

7. Wearing anything with metal

If you want to avoid the heaps of time by beeping through the security checker and make your screening easy and quick, you need to minimize wearing the metal items. The metal item includes heavy buckles, studded belts, zippers, etc. Even some rings, small watches, or pins can set off the alarms.

8. Vape Mods or E-cigarettes

If you are carrying personal vaping devices, you need to pack these components in carry-on baggage as per TSA rules. This is because such items as vape tanks, e-liquid bottles, and batteries are at the risk of breakage and explosion, and simply will be confiscated.

9. Arguing with a TSA officer

TSA agents are human and are just following the security protocols. If you are not satisfied with the rules, and decide to take it out with a TSA agent, it's just not going to help your efforts to board on time, if at all. So, you can take their advice in a positive manner and follow their suggestions, or be subjected to further unpleasantries.

10. Choosing the wrong security lane

Most of the airports have special security lanes for the VIPs (elite-status members, first-class passengers, etc), crew members, as well as families. So, to avoid delays, you have to be sure to use the correct lane.

Most of the above-mentioned mistakes happen by the passenger due to a lack of knowledge about airport security procedures. By avoiding mistakes, you can go through the checkpoint in the smoothest and fastest way.

11. Packing firearms in a carry-on bag

If you are planning to bring a gun or any other weapon, make sure that you pack it properly and inform the air carrier. There are legal methods to transport firearms, but packing them in carry-on luggage is not the right method. With proper authorization, you may bring an authorized firearm but only in your checked luggage.

So it is advisable not to bring any prohibited items along with you to the airport. By doing so, it can save you from the huge amount of trouble at the security checkpoints.

Find more help here for your journey through the airport