THE airport security line is full of all sorts of potentially uncomfortable situations. This is true whether you are a frequent traveler or a newbie who is not as familiar with safety rules and regulations. Avoid these six mistakes to avoid TSA line embarrassment.
If you like embellished clothes, be sure to pay special attention to this trick. Metallic accents on your clothing could signal a pat-down in the TSA line. This is an easy thing to overlook, as some items come with little metallic accents that you get used to and often forget.
As I walked through the body scanner of the Minneapolis-St. Recently at the airport in Paul, Minnesota (MSP), I didn’t realize that my cardigan had both metal buttons and a rather useless metal tag with the brand name attached to the side seam. The tag is what caught the attention of the TSA agent, who had to palpate my abdomen because of it.
Avoid decorative zippers
Decorative zippers are closely linked with metal buttons and random metal tags. Garments often feature fashionable details like a functional zipper at the neckline. While these items are fun to wear if they match your style, they aren’t so fun in an airport. They are by no means prohibited, but they can cause you to stumble in the safety line.
Layers are a smart choice for air travel, but you’ll need to choose your layering pieces carefully. If you wear a jacket as part of your outfit, for example, be aware that you may be asked to remove it when crossing the security line. Make sure you have a shirt under your jacket that is acceptable to wear in public in case this happens.
You probably already know that you have to take off your shoes at airport security (unless you are a Member of PreCheck). This can cause significant delays in the TSA line, and it gets really uncomfortable to be the one holding the line while dozens of other travelers are anxiously waiting for you to take your shoes off or put them back on. It makes sense to wear a slip-on shoe to avoid this particular situation. However, be sure to wear a slip-on shoe that works well with any socks.
If you go without socks, I can assure you that you will be barefoot in the security lines waiting for your turn to pass the body scanner. I once wore flip flops hoping to avoid blocking the TSA lines. Unfortunately, I did not think of this idea until the end. I didn’t hold the line, but ended up having to go barefoot for a good 10 minutes or more. Needless to say, it was a rather crude experience. If you don’t have slip-on shoes that work well with socks, use your upcoming flight as a great excuse to go shopping for new shoes.
Accessories can make an outfit, and many people like to look and feel stylish while traveling. Hats are a fun accessory and can hide unstyled hair, but you’ll need to remove them to be on the safe side. Likewise, if you wear sunglasses, be sure to pack them in your carry-on at the airport instead of placing them on your head or clipping them to your shirt. You will probably forget them there, and the TSA officers don’t really appreciate having to remember to take your sunglasses off.
Corral all liquids
In addition to getting scanned yourself, all items you take on the plane must also go through a scanner. Most airports require you to remove all liquid items from your purse or carry-on and place them in a trash can so they are visible. Make it easy for yourself by gathering all your liquid items (think hand sanitizers, lip gloss, wet wipes) in a clear plastic bag in your purse or carry-on. You can then simply pull out that plastic bag of liquids without having to rummage through the depths of your bag to find every last item.
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