Lengthy airport security queues are often the worst nightmare of keen #avgeeks. Many questions enter your mind: Do I need to remove my belt/jewellery/watch? Is that bottle of perfume less than 100ml? Where do I get those mini plastic bags from? Can I drink this entire bottle of water in two minutes? It is a real minefield.
All of this could be prevented if you anticipate possible outcomes beforehand. Here is everything you should know so that you need to know to feel less stressed at airport security checkpoints.
Remove the winter warm wear
Manchester Airport spokespeople have discussed how to get through airport security quickly during the winter, or indeed festive, months.
They advise passengers to remove coats/scarves/hats before security checkpoints, as on average, calculations show that an unprepared passenger who has to unzip zips, take off hats, gloves and untie a scarf at the metal detector, rather than in the queue, adds over one minute to the security processing time.
Keep gifts unwrapped
It’s likely that passengers are travelling with gifts they have received, or gifts for loved ones. It’s important that these are unwrapped, as a security staff member may ask to check them in order to verify whether they comply with hand luggage regulations.
How to be airport security-savvy (all year round!)
Airport Couture: Dress for the occasion
You should always dress for the occasion at airport security. Although pairing your necklace with your outfit may seem like the perfect finishing touch, it is almost guaranteed to slow you down.
To avoid antagonising the metal detector, hence then prompting a pat down by a member of the security team, ensure all jewellery, belts and watches before heading through security. More sartorial tips include avoiding wearing clothes that have stud, buckle or metal button details, and choose shoes that are easy to slip on and off.
It isn’t always a numbers game
Shorter queues won’t necessarily be quicker. Hear us out: there may be 20 or so business men and women in one queue, and a lesser number of couples and families in another. But it’s likely those in suits carrying briefcases will hurry through the queue quicker than the stressed parents that may have crying toddlers in tow.
Empty water bottles
If you’re concerned about inflated costs of food and beverages at airports, many of them do actually have free water refill areas. Here’s a list of which airports have water refill points – plus, you’re being friendlier to the planet. Remember the 100ml liquids rule – having your bag searched for large volumes of liquids will slow the whole process down.
The liquids rule
Speaking of the 100ml liquids rule (which may soon be a thing of the past), are you clued up on what liquids are permitted? The rules aren’t exactly crystal clear: for example, passengers can carry expressed milk for infants in containers of up to two litres, and there is no limit on the number of containers that can be carried. Similarly, did you know that jam, honey, and peanut butter are all considered to be a liquid? The Civil Aviation Authority has createda comprehensive list of what can be taken through airport security.
Alert screening staff to this before placing your bag in the tray, as every item in your carry-on bag must go through security and it is your duty to declare it. Remember you are permitted liquid medication, including over the counter prescriptions, frozen gels or liquids.
Let us tech-xplain
Any device larger than a mobile phone must be placed into a separate tray. Don’t place your laptop, tablet or Kindle at the bottom of your bag as it will be harder to find, and ensure that any devices are charged, as you may be asked to display the screen to a staff member.
Veer to the left when queuing
Research suggests that as most people are right-handed, they unconsciously veer towards the right hand side queues at check in and security check points, so make a point of opting for the queue on the left when possible!
If you are travelling with somebody that is autistic, it’s worth checking out whether your airport allows fast track for you and your family – many UK airports do, including Manchester. This can be hugely beneficial if the child in your care can get distressed or bewildered by unfamiliar situations.
It’s all in the name
if you are travelling with a child that does not have the same surname as you, take birth or adoption certificates along with you to the airport – this year the Home Office ruled that guardians or parents travelling with children that have a different surname must offer documentation providing proof of relationship. Similarly, if you are travelling with a niece or nephew, or a friend’s child for example, it is crucial that you can give evidence, usually in the form of written proof, that you have the explicit permission to travel with the child.