There’s no point huffing and puffing about airport security regulations – but regular airline travelers can attest that plenty of people do carry on atrociously. For seniors, especially first-time travelers, here are five top tips to minimize the small inconvenience that airline bag security and airport control creates.
Allow Ample Time to Get Through Airport Security
Airline security slows down the check-in to boarding procedure – it’s inevitable. Senior travelers, in particular, can find it threatening, bewildering and tedious. Nevertheless, don’t be the traveler who is already cutting it fine and then is selected for a random bag search or pat-down. Protesting that this “outrageous indignity” will cause a missed flight will only create suspicion. Travelers need to acknowledge the new threatening world of terrorism that surrounds both international and internal flights and has changed the flying experience forever. The tougher the airport security, the safer every airline passenger is on that flight.
Comply with Airline Liquid Restrictions
Despite the fact that, since 2006, rules have been in place restricting carry-on liquid container sizes to 3 ounces or 100 ml, many people – and not always first-time travelers – regularly get caught with large bottles of shampoo, moisturizer, toothpaste and other products they believe are innocuous, and are forced to throw them away. It is also important to remember that the total quantity is restricted, as well. All containers of liquid must fit into one quart sized – 20 cm square zip-top bag. Many airports have stopped dispensing free zip-top bags at security ; some now have an expensive coin-operated dispenser.
Senior travelers can avoid unnecessary problems by having the appropriate clear plastic bag ready for viewing with the few essentials in appropriate sized bottles containers. There is some talk of the liquid restrictions being lifted, as machines are being developed to better detect liquid explosives – the cause of this whole kerfuffle. However, until they are lifted world-wide, why run risks of being held up and being forced to jettison valuable products?
Avoid Carry on Luggage that is Too Busy
What must a security x-ray operator presume when he or she sees a tangle of wires, batteries and metal objects in a valise? A bomb, of course! Cases which are ‘too busy’ – that is, which contain a mess of unidentifiable bits and pieces –are certain to be selected for a time-consuming search. Travelers should do themselves a favor and ensure that computer, camera, shaver and other electrical devices are neatly organized and readily accessible – perhaps in an outer pocket of the carry-on luggage. Bag security is paramount, so pack wisely and systematically to avoid a time-wasting baggage check.
Dress to Please the Security Metal Detector
“Beeping” the monitor as one goes through the airport metal detector leads to a time-consuming and, for some people, embarrassing pat-down with a hand-held device. The cause of this nuisance is usually a belt buckle, some forgotten loose change or other insignificant metal item. Senior travelers wishing to make a speedy and trouble-free journey through airport security would do well to “dress to please” the security metal detector.
Avoid masses of metalwork, coats with metal buttons, boots with steel plates and lacing hooks. Personnel will quite often require that shoes be removed, so, again, wear shoes that are easy to slip out of. Avoid belts with large buckles – but be prepared for all travelers to be required to remove belts as a matter of course at some airports. Have a pouch to hold what comes out of the pockets, the wrist watch, jewellery, making it easily reclaimable at the other end of the x-ray conveyer belt.
Prepare Ahead for Laptop Airport Security
Security staff will demand that laptops or Notebooks be presented outside their bags. At some airports, laptops must be opened. Don’t waste valuable time trying to dig computers out while standing in the baggage x ray line. If you can’t enjoy a holiday without your trusty laptop, realsie it must be inspected, so facilitate the security procedure. Business travelers have learned to make many inroads into the process.
All in all, savvy senior travelers can ensure a trouble-free stroll through airport security by not trying to buck the system and by preparing well ahead for what will be required. Some items are better consigned to checked-in luggage, presuming the flyer isn’t travelling with only carry-on bags. Oh, and forget that large bottle of water. It’s not going through security, either!