Lines at airport security checkpoints have long been a headache for even the most seasoned travelers, but the attempted Christmas Day bombing of Northwest Flight 253 has put even more stress on an already cumbersome requirement.
Frequent fliers, savvy in the ways of air travel, have devised their own strategies for dealing with the new complications of air travel.
Michael Boyd, an aviation consultant, and Carol Margolis, the CEO of Smart Women Travelers, shared their thoughts about the changes on "Good Morning America" today, giving tips for making the air travel experience less stressful.
"You have an ally in that process in the TSA [Transportation Security Administration] screeners," Boyd said. "They know you aren't a terrorist, you know you're not a terrorist."
He recommended making sure to follow each of the TSA's requirements properly; displaying laptops and packing liquids in a clear plastic bag at the top of the carry-on bag, for example.
"Remember, they're on your side," he said of the TSA.
While travelers can't avoid security lines, Margolis said, they can help themselves move along faster.
"I always look for the shortest line or the line with the most business travelers in it," she said, adding that she avoids lines with families and elderly travelers.
Boyd also suggested shipping luggage ahead when possible, as some people on his recent ski trip did.
"Why go through the brain damage of trying to get a boot bag through," he said.
Boyd and Margolis have each flown more than 100,000 miles this year, and Boyd questioned security at the nation's airports.
The TSA should do more to ensure safety, and the agency should be run by security professionals and not political appointees, Boyd said.
Passengers Aren't Biggest Threat, Frequent Flier Says
Boyd said passengers aren't the biggest threat to airline safety. The biggest threat, he said, comes from people who work at the airports and supporting organizations who may not receive the same level of scrutiny as passengers.
Margolis said the system should help frequent fliers to move more quickly through security.
She also urged travelers to become familiar with the travel rules, such as the restriction on liquids in carry-on luggage. People need to have access to the rules well in advance of their arrival at the airport, she said, adding that the regulations should be attached to a boarding pass or an e-ticket printout.
Passengers also should remember to be calm and have a sense of humor, she said.
Carry-on bags: Don't carry liquids in your hand luggage. Buy what you need in travel sizes after you arrive at your destination.
Put as much as you can in your jacket. Put your cell phone in your jacket and then put your jacket in the bin at the security checkpoint, saving some time.
Checked luggage: Instead of paying to check your bags, send them ahead by express deliver to your destination.
Check-in time: It's usually busiest at airports between 6 and 8:30 a.m. Plan your flight to leave after that time, or get to the airport well before your flight departs to ensure that you won't have to wait in a long line.
Margolis' Tips for Female Travelers
She suggests a few ways to make your travel easier:
Use lemons at your hotel as an astringent.
Don't wear clothes with large buttons, or metallic ones, or big necklaces or earrings on your flight.
Wear jackets that can be easily removed when you're passing through security. Collarless ones are easier to fix once you put them back on.
Tea bags in your hotel room work well to relax puffy eyes.