There’s hardly a doubt that Americans love flying. With more than 20,000 airports in the United States, it’s estimated that nearly a billion U.S. passengers fly every year.

One thing people don’t like—whether you’re flying out of JFK in New York or a Central Illinois airport—is dealing with airport security. There’s no doubt of its importance in the times we live in, but in the minds of many frequent flyers, it’s seen as a necessary evil.

For those that don’t fly too often, here’s a primer on getting through airport security as easily as possible:

  • Don’t wear metal: One of the easiest ways to speed up your trip through airport security is to wear no metal or as little metal as possible. If you wear a belt, you’re going to have to remove it anyway, but keep other metal pieces to a minimum. The best thing to do if you must wear metal is to remove watches, rings, bracelets, etc., and stick them in your carry-on luggage. That same goes for keys, change and even piercings. The less metal you’ve got on you, the easier it’s going to be, the last thing you want is to be stopped by security at a Central Illinois airport and have to be patted down because you set sensors off.
  • Wear simple footwear: Another must-have for an airport security check is socks and comfortable shoes. You’re going to have to remove your shoes anyway, so make sure to wear comfortable socks and easily removable shoes. Just make sure you don’t leave anything behind.
  • Be careful about gels and liquids: When it comes to soaps, shampoos and other liquids, put them in your checked baggage. If you absolutely have to have toiletries and liquids and gels in your carry-on bag, keep them in 3.4 ounce (or smaller) containers and make sure all of them fit in a clear, quart-sized bag. If you really want to prevent hangups, just keep all that stuff out of your carry-on and put it in your big suitcase.
  • Get electronics prepared: When you go through screening at a Central Illinois airport or elsewhere, it’s important to get your laptop, camera and any other electronics out of their bags for checking.
  • Empty your pockets: Before you go through any kind of check, make sure you empty your pockets. The last thing you want is to set sensors off because you forgot to take your wallet out of your pocket or because you’re wearing a jacket with something in the pockets. Going through with empty pockets is going to speed things up.
  • Stay aware: There’s no doubt that the screening area of an airport can get a little hectic, but it’s important to take your time and ask questions as you go through the process. Rushing through the screening process can cause you to leave personal items behind or make it easy for others to steal your items. So make sure to pay attention, be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your personal items.
  • Have ID Handy: When you go through screening, make sure to have all necessary forms of ID handy including your driver’s license, passport and boarding pass.
  • Don’t count on pre-checks: Whether you’re at a Central Illinois airport or somewhere else, you can’t always count on a TSA recheck being available. Even if you’ve got a ticket that’s designated for a pre-check you should always be prepared to go through the regular line.

Flying on a plane for an enjoyable vacation can be an enjoyable experience. But before you get on the plane, you’re going to have to go through airport security. It can be a nuisance, but it’s important. Knowing what to do and being aware of your surroundings can help you get through it quickly and with all your personal belongings in tow.

Once you’ve done that you can focus on more important things like your flight information, different flight schedules and different requirements from different airlines for flying.

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