Navigating airport security

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From carry-on restrictions for liquids and gels, to unpacking laptops and removing belts, getting through airport security can be more than a chore when you’re staring a two-hour red-eye in the face.

Want to get through the ordeal with some semblance of sanity? Why not follow some of these tips from the travel experts at ASATA.

The first advice any ASATA travel consultant will give you is to avoid making any lame terrorist-related wisecracks as you pass through security.

Remember Frank Hannibal? He was arrested at LaGuardia Airport for joking that the TSA wanted to confiscate his explosives while screeners were double-checking a jar of peanut butter.

And he’s not the only one. Recently, a couple of travellers got into hot water joking about bombs at O.R. Tambo. They were swiftly arrested on charges of allegedly making bomb threats.

The spokespeople at the airport were very clear in their stance: under no conditions will airport security tolerate bomb threats from people ‘unable to exercise a modicum of restraint or good judgment’.

Next bit of advice: Remember, the Liquids, Aerosols and Gels or LAGs? You still can’t bring them onto the plane during an international flight. So, leave that full bottle of shampoo at home or pack it in your checked baggage.

If you’re still a bit hazy about what a LAG is exactly, just remember that if you can pour it, pump it, squeeze it, spread it, smear it, spray it or spill it, you can’t bring it on the plane in containers exceeding 100ml.

Your mantra to get through security quickly and efficiently should really just be: ‘always be prepared’. So, put your watch, belt and mobile phone in your bag before it hits the security belt; remove your laptop as well any large electronics from your bag, and have your ID and boarding pass ready in your hand.

And lastly, understand that although it’s time-consuming, the security process at the airport is there to ensure you travel with peace of mind. So, be pleasant and polite at all times.