10 Things That Slow You Down at Airport Security


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When you’re taking a vacation, going through airport security is the last thing you look forward to. And if you’ve made a mistake, you could end up being held back for longer than you’ve anticipated. Here, our Newark Airport parking company shares an article from Insider that lists 10 mistakes that could keep you from boarding your flight on time:

“You have your boarding pass , you finally found your headphones at the bottom of your bag, and you’re ready to head through airport security on your way to somewhere awesome.

When you reach security, however, you find you forgot to remove your five-ounce shampoo bottle. Mistakes like this can add unnecessary time to your airport security process.

Here are a few airport security mistakes that could cause you to miss your flight.

You’re not properly packing your liquids.

Not to mention your aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes. Basically, any liquid-like substance needs to be in a container of 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less if you’re taking it through security in your carry-on.

The key word here is “container.” If you throw a six-ounce bottle of lotion in your hand luggage, you won’t be able to bring it through security even if it only has one ounce of lotion inside. Sorting out all your incorrectly bottled liquids could cost you valuable time.

You’re not keeping an eye on your boarding pass or passport.

Though airports don’t publicize the fact, things get stolen from security screen stations fairly regularly. The Guardian’s reporting of a case of a missing MacBook Air made headlines, namely due to the apparent lack of response from the airport to the theft.

If you’re used to slinging your passport, identification, and boarding pass into a plastic tray and shuffling along through the x-ray machine, you might want to revise your security strategy. If your essential documents are picked up by the wrong passenger, you could end up dealing with a stolen identity along with a missed flight.

You’re not bringing a travel consent form when flying solo with small children.

You’re wrapping your carry-on in plastic wrap for protection.

Opting to have your luggage cocooned in plastic wrap at an airport kiosk can offer your checked bags protection from theft and the elements, but doing the same to your carry-on could have disastrous consequences for your dream of breezing through security.

TSA agents need to be able to inspect the contents of your carry-on. Even if you remove all your liquids and electronics from your carry-on before wrapping it, security personnel might still need to access the interior of your bag if it sets off the scanner.

Plus, most security agents will probably make a beeline for passengers that look like they really, really don’t want anyone snooping around their stuff.

You’re overlooking less-than-obvious liquids.

Failing to remove and properly package all liquids in your carry-on might cost you a delay at security. That includes the liquids you might not even consider liquids.

“Snow globes that appear to contain less than 3.4 ounces of liquid (approximately tennis ball size) can be packed in your carry-on bag ONLY if the entire snow globe, including the base, is able to fit into your one quart-sized, resealable plastic bag,” according to the TSA .

Their ruling on Magic 8 Balls is equally clear: “for carry-on bags: we asked the Magic 8 Ball and it told us… outlook not so good! For checked bags: we asked the Magic 8 Ball and it told us … it is certain!”

You’re assuming you know how long the lines at security will be.

Is it the weekend? Are you flying just before or after a holiday or school break? What time of day is it? What season is it? Are you flying domestically or internationally? What phase is the moon currently in?

There are a million factors that can influence how long your wait will be at security, and sometimes it seems like there are mile-long lines for absolutely no reason. If you assume that it won’t take you that long to make it through the scanners, you could still be waiting to take off your shoes as your plane lifts off.

Travel + Leisure did, however, report that a new app TripIt monitors wait times in real-time. The feature, for now, is only available at a few airports.

You’re not factoring in a second security screening at your layover airport.

Navigating a second airport on your way to your final destination can be stressful enough without realizing that there’s an additional security line between you and your gate.

Many times, international airports will require a secondary security inspection at gates with flights departing to the US, according to Travel Made Simple.

Make sure you factor in enough time to get you and your stuff to your flight in time to make your connection.

You’re packing prohibited items.

This should go without saying, but don’t think you can charm your way through security with a winning smile and load of fireworks in your duffel bag.

It’s every traveler’s responsibility to check the list of items prohibited by the TSA and to make sure you know the rules at any international airports you’ll be passing through. Packing a banned item might tie you up in security long enough to miss your flight, not to mention the possibility of getting slapped with a civil penalty of up to $13,066 per violation per person.

You’re wearing unsuitable or complicated clothing.

If you’re really pressed for time, the last thing you want to be stuck doing is awkwardly unhooking your metal-boned corset for inspection by a TSA agent.

Wearing clothing, accessories, or shoes that are difficult to remove or filled with metal elements that could set off the scanners is a great way to eat up your precious gate-finding time. Aim to dress as simply as possible and avoid lace-up heels, complex jewelry, and undergarments that could delay you at the metal detectors.

You’re arguing with a security officer.

If you don’t think the baggage restrictions are fair or that the security line is moving along quickly enough, that’s just a problem you’re going to have to work through internally. Taking out your frustration on a TSA agent will earn you a first-class ticket to a secondary inspection room and potentially get you barred from your flight.”


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