When travelers talk about the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), it tends to be negative.
"You won't believe the nightmare I had getting through security this morning," or "that TSA agent must have woken up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.
Unless you really have nothing better to do, the TSA knows that you didn't come to the airport to see them. They're just a rather large and sometimes annoying speed bump between you and your departing aircraft. That's why they've made a number of great resources available to help travelers get through their checkpoints as efficiently as possible.
Visit TSA.gov for advance planning
Although a few things may vary from airport to airport (or agent to agent), the vast majority of the rules at TSA checkpoints across the U.S. are pretty consistent. You can find those listed on the TSA website or in the MyTSA mobile app, which you can get in the iOS or Google Play stores.
Check out their recent blog on summer travel tips.
They also have lots of videos published that can help you know what to expect.
Follow TSA on Social Media
The TSA has an active social media presence. You'll find great information that will help you get through security more easily and provide answers to questions you might have.
You can also send them a specific question and get a direct answer via their @AskTSA Twitter account or via Facebook Messenger. They've got agents available to help from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET on weekdays, and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends and holidays.
By now, many U.S. travelers already have TSA Pre-Check. If you don't have it yet and you travel more than a few times a year it can be well worth the cost. Getting approved for Pre-Check allows you to get through airport security faster and easier, and it allows the TSA to focus their attention on both higher risk travelers and infrequent travelers, which can help speed up the entire security process.
For more information on how to get Pre-Check or another Trusted Traveler Program (which will include Pre-Check), visit our Ultimate Guide to Trusted Traveler Programs.
Sometimes the best way to make your airport security experience easier is to maintain a good attitude throughout the process. Here's a quote from Travel and Transport's Senior Vice President of Account Management, Nancy Rissky, which was first published on our website more than three years ago. I think it's still pretty relevant:
"Aside from the tangible things that made business travel easier, I’ve found that a positive attitude is a must. Sure, things are bound to go wrong, like flight delays or cancellations, but when you consider that these things are done for our safety, it’s easier to stay positive. When you acknowledge that things can go wrong, you’ll be much happier when things go perfectly right, which does occasionally happen. Do your best to smile – behavior breeds like behavior. Saying “good morning” and smiling at the TSA agent is sure to get you one in return."
Getting through airports isn't always easy. Keeping a few of these tips and resources in mind can go a long way the next time you're making your way to your next flight. What other tips do you have for getting through airport security quickly and efficiently? Let us know on social media! You'll find all of our channels listed at the top of this page.