I get it. When journeying to and through the airport, there is a lot to remember. You need a boarding pass. An ID. Your luggage. And you also need to keep straight all the TSA specifics about what is — and most of all, isn’t — allowed on a plane, beyond the now-famous 3-1-1 rule for liquids. So liquids must be in tiny containers. Laptops go in separate bins on the X-ray belt. Shoes come off. Pocket knives are a weapon. That’s the bulk of it, right? Wrong!
If you’ve traveled much, you probably realize there is an etiquette to the airways, regarding everything from checking a bag to deplaning. With crowds crammed together in a forced state of mutual limbo, awareness is critical. At security, there are more, unwritten rules to abide by than simply checking your pockets and holding your hands up in the scanner.
1. Realize you’re on a moving assembly line. To achieve a symphony of efficiency, a constant flow is necessary. That means unpacking/situating/derobing while also shuffling your feet and your belongings toward the scanners. If you stop, you’re clogging the drain.
2. Think about this ahead of time. Should you wear lace-up-the-leg ballet slippers to the airport? Probably not. Should you attempt to assemble your liquids when you get your bin? Probably not. Should you try carrying-on a portable grill kit complete with propane tank and a BBQ fork? OK, get out of here.
3. Treat your stuff like you would anywhere else. Would you drop your handbag in a crowd and walk away? No? Then don’t abandon it on the conveyor belt, either. Watch it go into the scanner before you walk away, so others can stick to worrying about their own things.
4. Yep, still on an assembly line. The performance continues post-scanners. Push your bins all the way down and move to the chairs to put on your shoes. Now you’re off to your destination in expedient fashion!
Amelia Rayno covers food and travel for the Star Tribune. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @AmeliaRayno.