- Get your documents ready before you get in the queue: Surprising how often I see people surprised when asked by a uniformed TSA Agent, security agent, representative of Her Majesties Government, stern looking person in a sterner looking uniform etc to see a traveller's boarding pass and passport. Get yourself a travelling pouch/wallet that keeps your passport, boarding pass and other travel documents in one place, put it in your dominant hand (ie my right hand) and give the right documents to the right person as quickly and orderly as you can (see also rule 7);
- Choose who you line up behind: The speed in which you can get through the queue depends most on the speed of the people ahead of you in the queue. You need to do some profiling of the people in front of you before you join a line. Avoid families and the elderly - they take too long to get their jackets, shoes and bags into and out of the scanner. Avoid anyone carrying anything metal (crutches, canes, prams) - there will inevitably be delays in them putting them through the scanner. Avoid large groups of people (school kids, tour groups, sporting groups, air crews) - they will be taking too much time helping each other out and sorting out who owns what. Basically look for other packs of travelling alone, serious looking business travellers;
- Select the right toiletry pack and switch to shave oil: The liquid rules are a real pain and the TSA apply the rules in the weirdest of ways. The obvious advice is do not pack anything in a bottle larger than100mm (3oz) and put them in a clear zip lock bag. But that is a given. I have three other pieces of advice for you. Firstly - carry a spare zip lock bag. If you lose your original or it breaks you will need a spare or else have to do a lot of negotiating or last minute running around to do. Secondly - be selective as to toiletry bag you use. I was give a great one a couple of years ago when "involuntarily" upgraded to first class on British Airways. It is a rectangular soft box shape with zip covering three sides of the lid. Allows me to open the toiletry pack so as to fully expose all of the contents for scanning (in a zip lock bag) but keeps it neat, orderly and safe from breaking bags. The security agents are happy as they get to see what they need to see, and I am happy because I have eliminated the chance of a break in the zip lock bag causing an awful mess in my bag. I searched for a photo online to show you but unfortunately could not find one. I hope the description is enough. Thirdly - keep your liquids to a minimum by doing the following. Save all of the small toothpastes you get on board. They are the perfect size for taking on trips. Ditto for moisturiser. Don't pack shampoo- use those provided by the hotel. Finally for travelling switch from using shaving cream or foam and a separate after shave balm to using shave oil. Shaving oil (ie King of Shaves Kinexium Oil) takes getting used to but once you do you can carry hundreds of shaves worth of oil in a 15ml bottle. It can be used as a post-shave balm as well as an alternative to foam/gel. Only downside is that it clogs up your razor blade - so you will go through blades faster. But is worth it for being able to ditch two large liquid bottles for one small one;
- Slip ons not laces: Your shoes should be slip ons not lace ups to speed on and off;
- Put everything in your bag: Before you get to queue (ie at check-in or in the taxi) put your wallet, coins, mobile, blackberry, pens, everything in you pockets into your carry on bag. Don't keep things in your pocket as you will just have to take them out and put them back in again;
- Store, keep and hoard express passes: Plenty of airports have express queues for those carrying special passes. Often the special pass is nothing more than a boarding pass for first of business class. But equally as often (ie Sydney airport) they are a separate document handed out at check in. I hoard these and keep spares in my travel wallet. You never know when you are going to need a spare (ie flying economy with the family). You will only realise the true value of having a spare when you have one;
- Smile: Security people get frowned at all day. Give them a smile.
- Afterwards - take a break and recombobulate.
PS - if you have no idea what the references to Recombobulation mean then read this post.
thanks to Larsz over a flickr for the photo