Stop Wearing Complicated Shoes to the Airport

airport etiquette

My salsa bar etiquette post got me thinking about pet peeves that don’t have official etiquette but should. A friend mentioned security line cluelessness as a pet peeve of hers — having recently been through a very slow line due to one unaware person, when I was rushing to catch a plane, naturally, I am totally on board.

So here’s some Airport Security Line Etiquette:

  1. We’ll start with the title: Don’t wear complicated shoes, like strappy shoes with buckles. If you show up with something like these on, expect to get some dirty looks. Complicated shoes not good for airport security lines.
    If possible, and it may not be, avoid anything that ties or zips. Slip-ons — and I mean anything that slips on, sandals included — make your life, and the lives of everyone standing behind you, much easier.
  2. Put all your liquids in 3-oz containers in a 1 quart bag and have easy access to it.
  3. Employ the bag-within-a bag-technique so you can bring all necessary items onboard, but be strategic about this, so it doesn’t slow you down. So, for example, my handbag and my laptop in a sleeve are both placed in a larger bag, which also usually contains a book, snacks and a wrap but rarely anything else, so I bring down my bag count to one bag and one suitcase. Btw, TSA is backing laptop designs (pictured) that will prevent you from removing your computer from your bag. Yay!TSA-approved laptop bags
  4. Take note of how many bins you typically require and grab that many upfront. I require three. I know I need a bin for my shoes and any jacket or cardigan, one for my computer removed from its sleeve, and a third for my bag (which is only necessary if your bag isn’t zippable). I never wear belts to the airport. Avoid it if you can.
  5. Keep moving you and your bins forward in the line as you unpack your items. Recently, I got stuck in terrible traffic heading to LAX, and then got stuck behind a lady in the security line who had a bunch of bins spread out in front of her at the beginning of the line and wasn’t moving them along closer to the conveyer belt. She would put something in one bin, contemplate the next, put something in there, all while not moving forward. This prevented all of us behind her from being able to start the process of unloading into bins ourselves. As someone rushing to catch my flight, it took everything I had not to hyperventilate.
  6. Develop a personal strategy for the fastest way to move through the security line both before and after being screened. I always put my shoes in the first bin. That way, when I’m on the other side, I can put on my shoes (which is an item that doesn’t rely on another item to put back in place) as I wait for my bag and laptop to come through.
  7. Invest in luggage that makes your life easier. I have made due with all sorts of luggage in my life — a wonky wheel on a suitcase that constantly made it tip over, a too-small bag that I tried to cram too much into, etc. At some point I finally realized they were creating problems that added stress to my flying experience. Finally, I purchased some items that aided me rather than created obstcles, and it has made all the difference.

What are you flying etiquette tips?

More tips on how to get through the line faster from the TSA itself here.

Got any pet peeves you feel are in need of etiquette rules? You can leave your request for etiquette posts in the comments or contact me here. And check out more on modern etiquette here!

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