Resolved to do anything that sparks enthusiasm in my heart

How to Not Be ‘That Guy’: Faster Ways to Get Through Airport Security

photo courtesy of

We all know him; Mr. Loose-change-in-the-pockets-water-bottle-in-the-pack who acts like taking his shoes off at the security checkpoint is a new thing. He is often accompanied by Mrs. I-have-four-screaming-children-two-strollers-and-six-overflowing-bags. Upgrade yourself to the People–who-know-what-they’re-doing category by following these tips.


Ditch the Laces: Wear loafers, clogs, or some other form of slide-on shoe. Shoes can stay on until the last minute and the annoying retying is avoided post-security.

Stowaway Jewelry/Watches:  Avoid the metal detector beep by stashing watches and jewelry in a carry-on pocket before arriving at the airport. Don again at your gate.

Bag Checkup:  Been backpacking? Ensure that your Leatherman isn’t confiscated by performing a quick carry-on inspection.

Print Boarding Passes: Even if you are checking luggage, the bag drop-off lines are almost always shorter than the check-in kiosks. Save yourself a few minutes and print from home.

Do Your Homework: Is there an alternative security checkpoint at the airport? There is at PIT. Considerable time can often be saved by finding this checkpoint.


Outerwear Off: Hats, gloves, mittens? Put them in your carry-on.  Wearing a jacket, fleece, or bulky sweater? Take it off, even if you don’t think it will be an issue. TSA will likely ask you to do so.

Laptop Out: Remove your laptop, even if in a TSA approved case. It is shocking how many officials do not know which bags are permitted to hold a laptop through security. Avoid the bickering and take it out anyway.

ID/Boarding Pass Ready: Quickly store after showing. Boarding passes are no longer requested after this point.

Spot Your Lane: The shortest line is not always the fastest. Pick the lane with the fewest people in the ‘That Guy’ category. Typically any lane with people wearing suits (those who travel frequently for business) will be fast.


Grab Two Bins: In the first, put your laptop and nothing else.  In the second, your coat, shoes, and toiletry bag if you packed it.

Bag on the Belt: After the bins are loaded, place your carry-on bag directly on the belt. Walk through the metal detector only after all of your items have passed under the scanner.


Get Out of the Way: Don’t be the guy slowly putting his bag together at the belt. Slide on your shoes, pick up your things, and move to the seating area to assemble yourself.

Have you been guilty of being ‘That Guy’? What do you do to streamline the airport security process?




5 responses

  1. Murthy Maddipatla

    Thats good one Nat! I remember that I was “that guy” few years ago.. but its because I have my name spell issue and things were more complicated as I am not native American.. anyways, good job!


    December 8, 2011 at 2:15 PM

    • Hi Murthy! Thanks for reading! I’m sure that was complicated… I’ve had my share of ‘that guy’ moments and death stares… but I’ve learned my lesson! Natalie

      December 8, 2011 at 2:53 PM

  2. Kaiulani

    Thanks Natalie! I always seem to end up behind “That Guy” and his family! Now I know to follow the suits! Also thanks for the tip about the shoes! It does make more sense to avoid the laces!!!

    December 12, 2011 at 2:25 PM

  3. People always hate getting behind me because I often travel with a carry-on, a jacket, and a backpack with up to three laptops in it. I end up taking up half of the table leading up to the X-ray machine and I always opt out of backscatter scanners.

    January 8, 2012 at 7:36 PM

    • Colin- you sound like my husband! Try to have the laptops out of your bag before you get to the X-ray belt….. It’s fine if you take up a lot of space, but just remember to move! move! move!

      January 8, 2012 at 9:47 PM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s