Of all the things to pack for traveling, patience may be the most important. I’ve grown accustomed to flight delays, traffic jams, long waits at restaurants, and conversations in broken English that take extra time. I anticipate things that may go wrong, never rent a car without GPS, and rarely check my luggage. But if I’m going to lose my patience, it always happens in the same place: the airport security line. Because when you fly as often as I do, it’s easy to see the small things people could do to make the lines move much faster.
1. Plan ahead. Before you even get to the airport, there are things you can do to ensure a speedier trip through airport security:
- If you’re planning to wear a belt to the airport, don’t! Leave it in your carry-on and put it on after you get through security, which will save the time of taking it off (or forgetting to) before you go through the scanner.
- Review the TSA list of prohibited items and leave anything in violation at home. Believe it or not, the people screening are professionals and they will find your knife, matches, and hairspray, but not without scanning your bags multiple times and delaying the line.
- Ensure that your liquids meet TSA restrictions, and keep the quart-sized bag in a place you can quickly access from your carry-on.
2. Prepare. You’ll inevitably have time in line. Do something with it!
- If your laptop isn’t in a sleeve, remove it from your carry-on, along with your quart-sized bag of toiletries.
- Take off your jacket, coat, sweatshirt, or cardigan.
- Wearing shoes that don’t slip on and off? Unlace or unzip them in anticipation of removing them .
- Check to be sure your pockets are empty.
- Determine how many bins you’ll need and what you’ll put in them (see #2) before approaching the scanner.
- Put your shoes on the belt first, so you can slip them on while you’re waiting for your other belongings to come through.
- Put your bins on the belt last, so you can grab them and…
4. Keep moving!
- Grab your things and go. All airports have benches, chairs, and tables just beyond the security screening area that you can use to lace up your shoes, put on your belt, put your laptop back in your bag, etc. Doing these things in the screening area causes a backlog of passengers waiting to get through and frustrates frequent fliers.
And, just like getting through airport security doesn’t need to take a long time, neither does baking! These peanut butter chocolate chip cookies use only 5 ingredients and 1 bowl, and can be made in 15 minutes start to finish, including baking time!
So enjoy the cookies, but please, don’t be a turtle in the airport security line.