If you don’t travel often, security precautions at airports can be baffling and time consuming when you’re trying to hot-foot it to a flight.
Candice Hills-Ferneau, a security screener at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, offers some tips on making it easier to glide through the lines.
• Lighten up on the metal. People "don’t seem to understand they’re going through the me-tal de-tec-tor," she said. "It detects metal."
This includes pagers, cell phones, keys, money clips, gum wrappers and cigarette lighters. The more you have on your person, the more you’ll have to remove, and the slower the process will be. Before you leave your house, ask yourself: Do I need that giant belt buckle today? Can I store my loose change in my carry-on bag?
Most jewelry (with the exception of thick silver and some costume jewelry) won’t set off the detectors, so don’t worry about prying off your wedding ring.
• Remove your shoes. You aren’t required to take them off, but if they set off the detector, you’ll have to go through a secondary screening, which will slow you down. Leave the hiking boots and other complicated footwear at home, if possible. Slip-on loafers are good, and anything with Velcro fasteners will let you speed through. "A lot of people are now wearing flipflops, which really expedites the situation," Hills-Ferneau said.
• Take out the laptops. You’ll have to remove your computer from its case and send it through the X-ray machine on its own. Make sure there aren’t a zillion pieces of paper shoved underneath the computer that will fall out and cause a mess.
• Have your ID handy. At Sky Harbor, you’ll be asked for ID before entering the security line and again before boarding the plane. Other airports ask for it more frequently. Make sure your ID is always accessible, not shoved in your wallet or in the bottom of a messy purse.
For more tips, visit www.tsa.gov/public and click on "Travelers and Consumers."