Don't Make These Mistakes Going Through Airport Security

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A stressful experience going through airport security can have many implications besides being a bad way to start your travel day. Avoiding these airport security mistakes can help you breeze through the checkpoint, reach your gate on time, and keep your dignity intact.

Avoid Long Airport Security Lines

Flying in the early morning or after 6 PM can help you avoid the day’s longest security lines at most airports. You will want to arrive at the airport approximately two hours before departure.

Consider downloading the MyTSA app, which monitors current airport wait times. This app also includes an interactive guide to help you differentiate TSA-approved items from prohibited carry-on material. Applying for the TSA PreCheck or Global Entry trusted traveler programs as you can enjoy expedited screening privileges. In addition to a less invasive security screening, the airport security wait time is almost always shorter than five minutes.

As a bit of good news, the TSA PreCheck cost was recently reduced from $85 to $77 for the initial enrollment. Your membership lasts five years.

Know The Liquid Rules

Your carry-on bag can only bring liquids that are in containers with a maximum capacity of 3.4 ounces (100 mL) or less. Additionally, these containers must go in a resealable one-quart bag. Hand sanitizer (up to 12 ounces per passenger), medication and infant or child nourishments are exempt from the TSA liquids rule.

Be sure to have these items in an easy-to-reach place so you can quickly put them in the x-ray bin at the TSA checkpoint.

Pack Lightly

While you should dress comfortably and keep yourself warm or dry, avoid clothing and luggage that’s bulky or has plenty of metal. There can be more places to conceal questionable items that can require an in-depth inspection. Additionally, attire, shoes, or luggage that is time-consuming to put back together delays getting to your gate or the airport lounge.

Packing a carry-on bag efficiently can also speed up the security review as the agents can see what’s inside your luggage.

Don’t Pack Weapon-Like Items

Even if it’s just a toy or an attention-grabbing product design, an item that looks like a firearm, knife or an explosive will likely need to be discarded or checked. Consider leaving these items at home or mailing them to avoid potential penalties in fines.

If you’re bringing along a bag that hasn’t flown lately, inspect the pockets to look for questionable items. For example, maybe you recently used a backpack for a camping trip and forgot to remove your favorite pocket knife, which won’t pass inspection.

This airport security mistake happens more than you think. Many passengers may not realize that bringing a firearm through airport security results in a $1,500 fine. This civil penalty jumps up to $3,000 if the weapon is loaded. In 2022 alone, TSA issued more than $20 million in weapons-related fines.

Simultaneously, don’t make jokes about having a gun or bombs. Your words can automatically flag you for further review.

Listen To The Security Staff

It’s always essential to follow the directives of the security agents. For example, they may have you change lanes or verify that everything is removed from your pockets and carry-on. Being kind to the agents can also go a long way in an environment where stress levels are already high.

Disclose Medical Conditions

If you have special medical equipment, such as an insulin pump or an artificial knee, alert the TSA agent. They may ask several questions and adapt their screening process to be minimally invasive.


Going through airport security doesn’t have to feel like you’re running the gauntlet. Enrolling in programs like TSA PreCheck is an excellent first step to pass through quickly. Packing with the proper travel gear is also helpful.

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