A TikTok Influencer Shares Tips For Going Through Airport Security For The First Time

In nearly every airport security line, there's that one exasperating traveler who creates a bottleneck in the queue because they've arrived at the airport ill-prepared. They fumble for their documents and make a mess out of their belongings, eliciting eye rolls and audible sighs from the people in the queue behind them. What you don't want to happen at any point during your travels is to be that person, and the only way to do that is to ensure that you've got everything in order before even stepping into the line.

In a roundup of airport security tips by TikTok influencer @travelingtayler (Tayler Gill), she advised that to avoid being the collective source of annoyance in the TSA line, especially if it's your first time, to do some pre-prepping. This entails wearing shoes that are easy to slip on and remove, making sure that your water bottle — if you have any — is completely empty, clearing your pockets, and then having your boarding pass and your ID in hand, ready to show the security agent. 

If you're bringing liquids with you, make sure that you've followed the 3-1-1 liquid rule to avoid any potential issues and maintain the smooth flow of traffic in the screening line. Even before your turn is up, she advises taking out any electronics and slinging your backpack over one shoulder. Doing so allows for an easy transition when it's time to place them in the conveyor bin.

Strategically unpack — and pack — your belongings

Just like there is an art to packing luggage, there appears to be an art to unpacking your belongings at the TSA security line, too. To facilitate a smooth process, TikTok influencer @travelingtayler recommends a practical approach: limiting your items to two conveyor bins. Designate the first bin for your computer, while the second bin can be allocated for your shoes, purse, and jacket. Your backpack doesn't need a separate bin, so it goes right behind the two initial bins. It would help if you did a quick self-patdown to ensure that there's nothing left in your pockets and then proceed with pushing your stuff into the scanner. Be sure to stay with your things until the last of your items go through. "This is not the TSA agent's job. This is your job," she noted.

When retrieving your stuff, Tayler advises waiting until you spot your items emerging from the scanner before heading to the end of the conveyor belt. Prioritize grabbing your computer first, then place it in your backpack to free up your hands. Take your purse, slip on your shoes, and get your jacket. Stack the two bins and deposit them into the designated container. If the line isn't long or the airport isn't bustling with activity, you can even take a few extra seconds to slip your jacket in. Otherwise, you can do it later after you've collected all your belongings.

The shortest line isn't always the fastest line

Even if you've mastered packing and unpacking your carry-on items, you still can't guarantee that you're going to breeze past security. According to @travelingtayler, your choice of security line can also significantly impact your experience. She says that the length of the line doesn't necessarily correlate with its speed. Sometimes, shorter lines aren't the fastest, and there is a reason for their length.

"If there's small children or families with a lot of children, or really elderly, I would probably pick another line," Gill notes, adding that it's best to use your judgment to try and spot people flying for business, as they tend to be more efficient. "I will look for a line that has quite a few business travelers or people who look like they could be business travelers or travel frequently, or solo travelers. They're usually going to be a little bit faster and more efficient going through just because they do it more often."

Or you can always try the tested and proven tip of applying for TSA PreCheck, Clear, or Global Entry. Sure, memberships to these things cost quite a bit of money, but they ensure a seamless experience through security every single time, making the investment worthwhile.