The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in the US is experimenting with special lines for ‘expert’ travelers. The idea is to separate different groups – families, casual, and expert travelers to reduce the time people spend in security lines.

This scheme is likely not to take off since smart travelers are simply going in the shorter line. One thing is for sure however, no matter where you are in the US you can save time in security lines with these expert tricks.

  • Wear Thick Socks – Take of your shoes/slippers when there are 2 people left in between you and the plastic trays. Tie shoes with laces to your carry on and slippers around baggage handles. Thick socks are better suited to walking around on dirty (sometimes wet) airport floors.
  • Take Your Belt Of And Throw It In Your Carry-On – The biggest time trap in airport security lines is after you pass through the metal detectors. Avoid setting them off at all costs otherwise you’ll lose several minutes being hand-screened by TSA staff.
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  • Take Your Laptop Out – Once you’ve taken your shoes and belt off you’ll be coming up on the plastic trays. Laptops always need to be set in their own tray. Not doing so will send your bag through twice and laptop separately.
  • Have Your Cell Phone and Keys In Hand – Security may offer you a small bowl to put these items in as you go through the metal detector. Once you through (without setting off the alarms) just toss them back in your pockets. In larger airports these small items must be x-rayed, so throw them in your carry-on along with your belt.
  • Keep Your Ticket (and Passport) Out and Visible – TSA staff may want to see your signed flight ticket and (if you’re an America) it’s a good idea to keep your passport out. This is likely to significantly reduce you chances of being hassled.
  • Smile and Say Hello – Security personnel could careless if your late for your flight, grouchy at your boss for sending you to Minot (just kidding), or annoyed at having to throw your Coke out. Even if it wouldn’t fool your grandmother and simple ‘hi’ and smile will get past you the person that can make a 3 minute wait at 15 minute one.
  • Don’t Bring Drinks – By now everyone should know that liquids (with some exceptions) are banned from passing through airport security. Remember that hand sanitizer and toothpaste are included. Buy containers less than 3 ounces or just leave them in your carry-on, they probably won’t notice.
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Much of getting past security quickly is being prepared, keeping up with the latest set of rules, and being courteous to the TSA staff. A good time way to make a complaint is by writing to your Congressperson or on the TSA blog not when your bling bling is setting of metal detectors in the next state.

[photos by: pbo31, redjar]