For better or worse, we’re getting into the pits of peak traveling season. From college breaks, to companies giving their (lucky) employees Summer Fridays off, traveling season is upon us. While that’s exciting, what’s not exciting is the fact that the TSA is under-staffed and you can end up waiting in a two-hour security line (or worse) at the airport. To help make summer travel easy, we’ve compiled a few tips. Got any others? Let us know!
Know the Ropes of Security
It sounds simple, but you don’t know how many people do not understand how to go through the security line effectively and efficiently. Don’t be THAT guy.
- Keep your ID and your boarding pass in your hand to show to the agent.
- Have your liquids in the required bag, and let it be the last thing you pack so you can just unzip your bag and grab it.
- Have your laptop ready to go, out of its case, and place it in its own, separate bin.
- Wear shoes that you can easily get off and back on (leave the lace-up sandals for another day).
- Make sure everything is out of your pockets.
- If you’re wearing a long necklace, flip it to the back before you walk through the screener.
- Most importantly, be nice to the TSA agents. They have a hard job, and it’s not their fault if you don’t remember to take your laptop out of your bag and your belongings have to be re-scanned.
Check Twitter the Morning Of
Do a simple search for your airport on Twitter to see if the airport has tweeted anything about excessive wait times, etc. And if they haven’t, chances are (angry) travelers have. Love Field is pretty good about tweeting, warning fliers to expect longer wait times at certain points. This will save you a lot of frustration, and can also keep you from missing your flight.
Fly at Odd Times of the Day
If possible, and you’re really trying to avoid airport chaos, try and book flights at odd times of the day – aka not during peak hours. Airports are normally pretty packed on Thursdays, Fridays and the weekends, as well as during the morning. Flying during the week can help, too – bonus: it’s normally cheaper to fly at these times.
Or, Don’t Fly
To REALLY avoid airport chaos, don’t fly. That doesn’t mean you have to drive, either. If you’re lucky enough to live in part of the country with trains, take advantage of those. Additionally, there are a lot of buses that run in Texas now – and some of them are really nice. Like, serve unlimited, free alcohol the whole time, nice.
Check Out TSA Pre-Check
If you fly frequently enough, check into TSA Pre-Check and see if it’s worth it to apply. Additionally, if you travel internationally, look into Global Entry, which also includes TSA Pre-Check when flying domestically. You have to fill out an online application and then visit a location for an “interview.” You’ll also have to pay a fee, ranging from around $85 – $100. But, if you travel enough, it is definitely worth it, and it’s valid for five years. Not only do you get to skip the long security lines, you don’t have to take your shoes off or take your laptop out of its case. I’m currently applying for TSA Pre-Check, so I’ll let y’all know how it goes.
Check Your Bags
I know this can be a pain – but I promise you if everyone did check their bag, the security lines would go a looottt faster. Those baggage fees can be annoying though, which is why flying Southwest is never a bad idea. Additionally, if you have certain traveler credit cards, you get free checked bags (the Citi AAdvantage card gives you a free checked bag on American).
Just Be a Nice Person
Traveling can be really stressful, and if you’re annoyed that you’re standing in a two-hour security line, I guarantee you everyone is feeling the exact same way. There’s no need to complain loudly or talk about how frustrated you are. Literally no one cares, because they’re in the same boat, and it just angers other travelers more. (this tip is dedicated to the lady who was in front of me the last time I flew out of Love)
Oh, also – if you know someone who needs a job, send them TSA’s way.
Where is everyone headed this summer?! Let us know! xo – kels