How to avoid a bad airport security experience
A bad airport security experience can ruin your whole trip – but it doesn’t have to.
Getting through security can be hassle-free if you know what to do. So after you shop for summer airfare deals, take a moment to check out these tips; it could save you time at security and nothing’s more precious than time during vacation season.
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1. Sign up for PreCheck: It’s not free, but at $85 for a five-year membership, it’s a bargain. Once you join (there’s a two-minute-long questionnaire online and a three-minute-long personal interview), you get to go through the fast PreCheck-only lane, keep your shoes on and your bag of toiletries and laptop can stay in their cases. Plus, a friend of mine has noticed a little-known perk: “I signed up for PreCheck but my husband never did, and yet, when we travel together, his boarding pass also includes the phrase ‘TSA PRE’ too, so we both get the benefits!”
2. Special needs: Contact the TSA hotline if you have any medical situations that you think could cause concern for a TSA officer. Perhaps a piece of metal was implanted somewhere in your body, or you have to use a wheelchair – whatever it is, contact the TSA Cares hotline 72 hours before you go to the airport so they can assist you. You can also email, but calling is probably simplest -- the number is 855-787-2227. Again, call three days before your trip begins.
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3. Perks for old and young: Good news for families traveling with children; kids 12 and under can keep their shoes on, which can be particularly helpful with won’t-sit-still-toddlers. Those 75 and older can also keep footwear on through the security line, which saves time before and after the checkpoint, and these minutes add up.
4. Pat-downs aren’t personal: You might be selected for additional screening – and this is true even for PreCheck members – it’s what authorities call another layer of security protection. It can include what some consider fairly invasive procedures like a pat-down. A frequent flyer I know said the best way to deal with these is to “stay calm and polite and you’ll be on your way again in just a few seconds.” Granted, not everyone is so calm in the face of a pat-down and if you believe you have a grievance, file a complaint.
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Following these quick tips could ensure your vacation gets started on the right foot.