Tricks To Breeze Through Dreaded Airport Lines

Dread Airport lines? Try these tricks.

We all know how it is. Any mention of the state of airport travel- especially the lines and the TSA- will inevitably elicit groans of frustration, eye rolls, and a raft of stories of security nightmares.  Nobody loves airports!

It’s true in many ways that traveling by plane today lacks much of the glamour and carefree effortless elegance of, say, 50 years ago. We live in a different world with more complex problems.  More people are flying than ever before.

Since you have to go through the lines and security no matter what- how about making it as painless as possible? Here are some easy tips to help you breeze through your next security screening.

Get Organized.

Sounds like stock advice, right? Here are some specifics that can shave precious minutes and hassle off your wait time.

  • Check your flight status before you get ready to leave your house.
  • Download a smartphone app like TripIt ( )that will automatically notify you of any changes to your itinerary.
  • Check in to your flight online, This is especially helpful if you are not checking any bags!  I’m a huge fan of carry-on only.  I can fit a week in a backpack and standard carry-on unless I’m snowskiing.

Check out my blog on packing tips!

  • Before you leave for the airport, put everything essential you need to check in and get through security
    • your ID
    • credit card
    • boarding pass,
  • Pack out of reach anything that you will not need between your front door and your airplane seat. Clutter is the enemy of smooth passage through the airport.
  • Go to the left security lane.  Studies show people tend to migrate to the right, so go left.  I’ve found this trick to be very helpful and save me time when I’m running late at the airport!

If you’re staying over in a hotel (hopefully you got the park and fly rate that includes parking for extra savings!) and have an early morning flight, take you watch or any jewelry, loose change, and any other small items you’d have to take out anyway (like portable electronics), and just put them in your water bottle. That way, you save time and space and you don’t have to remember and gather them while in line. and they’re all together in one place when you’re through. TSA agents also reportedly appreciate this kind of forethought.

While you’re in line, make a mental note of how many bins you’ll need. Take a few seconds to plan out the most efficient way to get your stuff on the belt so you can go through, get dressed, and get out.  Don’t forget one for your computer!

Get on the list.

The TSA has a trusted traveler program called TSA Pre that is now available in many airports across the country. It has perks like not requiring shoe or laptop removal for a speedy trip through security.

Homeland Security offers Global Entry.  This speeds up the process when entering back into the United States.  If you travel abroad a lot or have mobility issues, you may want to look into Global Entry.

Troubleshoot like a Pro.

When things don’t go as planned and you get delayed or a late flight means you missed a connection- don’t panic. Here’s what you can have on hand to help make a messy situation much more bearable:

  • If you have a smartphone, make use of it.
    • iPhones have the wallet feature where you can save boarding passes.
      • Find helpful apps (such as TripIt) that keep all your info organized, that keep you informed, and that have helpful names and numbers (like mine!) at your fingertips when you need them.
  • Program the numbers of your travel agent, airline, car rental service, hotel, and any other contact info into your phone.
    • You can even temporarily organize them all under one name- for example, assign the “last name” of each item as “California Trip 2020” and they’ll all appear listed in one spot in your contracts for easy access, This way, if a logistical emergency occurs, you have the ability to reach me so i can help you find addition flights, make cancellations, reschedule pick-up/drop-off times, or notify hosts or a front desk of a late arrival.

Get Zen- or whatever your version of that is.

When you have everything organized, and you know you’re ready to go, and all there is left to do is wait in line, make the most of it.

  • Focus on the excitement you feel about your trip.
    • Talk to your kids.
    • Take deep breaths.
  • If you’re not self-conscious do some pre-tiny-airline-seat stretches.
  • Strike up a conversation if you feel like it.
  • Listen to a podcast.
  • Get your mind in a place that’s positive and productive and set the tone for your trip to focus on what’s working and what you’re thankful for.

We know it’s tough sometimes, but don’t forget the one travel essential you cannot live without: patience. Everyone is in the same boat; everyone wants to get through. A smile and a “thank-you” goes a long way. I’ve known people, including myself, who’ve gotten upgrades or perks (baggage fees waived, bump up to business class) just for being polite when everyone else was falling apart. Be that person.

Are you looking for help planning your next trip? Not only can I help you with amazing travel tips, I can help you with everything from Azerbaijan to Zanzibar, beginning to end.  Contact me today and we can get started planning your best trip yet.

Comment below with your favorite travel tips or just your favorite travel snack.  I love to know what others do!

20 thoughts on “Tricks To Breeze Through Dreaded Airport Lines”

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