Do’s and don’ts with air­port se­cu­rity

How to sail through with­out a hitch

Business Traveller (Middle East) - - Contents -

A2017 study by Swiss In­ter­na­tional Air Lines found that Bri­tish peo­ple spend an av­er­age of 52 days of their lives queu­ing. One of the most dreaded queues for the fre­quent trav­eller is se­cu­rity at the air­port. In a re­cent sur­vey by flight com­par­i­son site jet­, 73 per cent of Bri­tons polled said they’d had a neg­a­tive ex­pe­ri­ence go­ing through se­cu­rity, and 81 per cent of those said they had been made late for their flight. With a few sim­ple steps, how­ever, you can cut your wait­ing time down, and make pass­ing through se­cu­rity eas­ier for you and oth­ers.


Sev­eral coun­tries have im­ple­mented pro­grammes that al­low fre­quent trav­ellers to have a thor­ough back­ground check once ev­ery few years in lieu of be­ing fully screened each time they board a flight. The best known of these pro­grammes op­er­ates in the US. The Trans­porta­tion Se­cu­rity Ad­min­is­tra­tion ( TSA) Precheck al­lows ap­proved US cit­i­zens to pass through air­port se­cu­rity in a sep­a­rate, shorter queue and avoid re­quire­ments such as re­mov­ing lap­tops and liq­uids from their bags and tak­ing off their shoes.

Non-US cit­i­zens can also re­ceive TSA Precheck when fly­ing out of cer­tain US air­ports by ap­ply­ing for Global En­try, another trusted trav­eller pro­gramme. Global En­try is a mem­ber­ship-based pro­gramme that iden­ti­fies low-risk trav­ellers and lets them pass through cus­toms via a quicker queue with an elec­tronic check-in upon ar­rival in the US. A Global En­try mem­ber­ship costs US$100 and lasts five years, though it re­quires a visit in per­son to a US Em­bassy for in­ter­view at in­fre­quent dates. UK cit­i­zens have to pay an ad­di­tional £42 for a back­ground check to the UK Gov­ern­ment and can ap­ply on­line at­try-usa.


You can speed up the screen­ing process by sched­ul­ing your flight for an off-peak date. Avoid Fri­days and Sun­days, as these are the busiest days for va­ca­tion trav­ellers. Sim­i­larly, Mon­day morn­ings are a prime time for busi­ness trav­ellers. Leav­ing on a Tues­day or Wed­nes­day is your best bet if you’re try­ing to avoid the masses. Com­mon sense sug­gests avoid­ing Bank Hol­i­day week­ends and the dates around Christ­mas and Easter. Fewer peo­ple to wade through makes life eas­ier not only for you, but also for the air­port staff – which leads to another way to en­sure a smooth trip through se­cu­rity.


Per­haps the most ob­vi­ous tip is also the most es­sen­tial: be­ing re­spect­ful and gra­cious to the se­cu­rity staff will make for a quicker, more pleas­ant ex­pe­ri­ence for ev­ery­one in­volved. Air­port se­cu­rity guards move thou­sands of peo­ple through the gates ev­ery day. The guards can work long hours and through the hol­i­days. Their job is of­ten stress­ful and it’s im­per­a­tive they do it well. A sim­ple smile or thank you can go a long way. If you have a le­git­i­mate ques­tion, ask it in a po­lite, non-ac­cusatory tone of voice. And above all else, be early enough to the air­port that you’re not plac­ing an ex­tra bur­den on them by ask­ing them to rush you to your flight.


Don’t be the per­son that holds up the queue be­cause you haven’t got your be­long­ings ready for in­spec­tion. A jacket with sev­eral pock­ets can be a time-saver when you’re rush­ing to col­lect your wal­let, keys, phone and watch from the con­veyor belt. Slip-on shoes are quicker to take off and put back on if there isn’t any­where to sit. You can also avoid re­mov­ing your belt by wear­ing one with a non-metal buckle. And make sure any items that must be scanned sep­a­rately ( lap­top, liq­uids, etc) are eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble. The per­son be­hind you won’t ap­pre­ci­ate wait­ing for you to dump the con­tents of your brief­case onto the con­veyor belt and fish around for your iPad. Just have every­thing ready to go. Laura Mis­erez

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