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Taking flights in the United States

How to get through the security line faster

Hoping to see a bit of the United States this year? You'll be battling your way through long security line-ups in that case... But to save a bit of time the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has published a guide to getting through the line faster. The golden rules concern packing, dressing and being prepared:

Pack right

Layer your belongings - clothes first, then electronics, more clothes, finally heavier objects. It'll save time for everyone if security officers can see clearly what's in your luggage.

Don't put big electronic items such as a laptop or a DVD player in checked luggage. Pack them in carry-on, but be prepared to have them screened separately.

Get your clear, resealable plastic bag ready. You're allowed to bring just 100ml (3 ounces) of liquid or gels.

Put coats and jackets in checked luggage to save time - and save your arms. Coats and jackets have to go through the X-ray machine for inspection.

Don't wrap your gifts. Security officers may have to unwrap that present to inspect it and may not be too careful how they do it.

Pack undeveloped film in your carry-on bag.

If you're not sure about something, leave it at home.

Dress simply

You want to get through the metal detector without setting it off. Additional screening takes time. Beware of belt buckles, hair clips and piercings as well as keys and loose change.

Remember you'll have to slip off your shoes. Perhaps leave those 14-hole Dr Martens boots for another trip.

Have your paperwork to hand

Keep your boarding pass and ID ready.

Finally, watch your mouth

There's no place for humour in a TSA line-up. Be polite and don't make jokes. Your security officer may not appreciate your humour.

The TSA website has a wealth of good tips and helpful advice including videos. Click here for more ...

Updated December 2011

Kara Segedin
Writer, traveller, Tweeter, blogger and part-time adventurer. A kiwi living in London off to explore the world! I can never travel enough!