How to bring an airport security line to a halt (and get it moving again)

What you need to know.

There are two simple ways to bring an airport security line to a halt: Ignorance of the old rules and failure to learn the new ones. You probably went to the trouble to find the cheapest possible ticket for your flight, so don’t miss it by getting stuck in a long line at security. This will help; a list of security dos and don’ts.

1. Ignorance of three new rules

Food rules: This may not happen every time but you could be asked to remove all food items from your carry-on. Remember, if you’re bringing anything that could be described as even somewhat liquid-ish (perhaps a gift of homemade jam over the holidays) it will be dumped unless it is in a container that holds 3.4 ounces or less. As for other, more solid food items, they’ll simply be inspected and returned to you.

2. Chainsaws and other weird items

3. Bad jokes

4. Assuming security personnel can read minds

Maybe you’re required to take certain medications on a daily basis, need certain medical equipment such as needles or have a piece of metal in your body; the TSA officers don’t have the power to read your mind so you’ll have to tell them about this before you reach the metal detector or risk slowing things down. Even better, call the TSA Cares hotline 72 hours before departure at (855) 787-2227; by letting them know about special needs in advance, you can get additional assistance during the screening experience.

5. No PreCheck

I’m all about saving a buck, but sometimes it pays to spend a little and the TSA PreCheck program is a very good deal. For $85 you get a five-year membership ($17 per year) which allows you to keep shoes on, toiletry bag stays in the carry-on and best of all, you get to use the PreCheck-only line. If you fly overseas much, try Global Entry; it costs a little more but makes returns through customs so much faster, and it includes PreCheck.