Wednesday 28 September 2016

Pack like a pro for airport security - four tips to save time and money

Travel tips & advice

Published 11/08/2016 | 02:30

Cork Airport. Photo: Fáilte Ireland/Andrew Bradley
Cork Airport. Photo: Fáilte Ireland/Andrew Bradley
Amie Quinn with leaflets explaining the security restrictions in 2006 Picture: Colin Keegan

10 years since the 100ml liquid restrictions came into play, packing has gotten tricky. Here are our top tips.

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What a difference a decade makes.

Ten years ago, air passengers could bring liquids and penknives onto planes. Check in bags were free. There was no ESTA. There were no body scanners.

In the days before 9/11, airport security was designed to stop guns and bombs. Since then, we've seen the threats box cutters and bottles can pose. We've had shoe bombers and jockstrap jihadists.

The ban on liquids of more than 100ml came in August 2006, in response to a plot targeting transatlantic planes with explosives hidden in soft drinks bottles.

Security, we've learned, is a never-ending game of catch-up.

There have been positive changes too. Online check-in had us up in arms several years ago, but the fact that you can check in at home now means you can proceed directly from the car park to the security lines.

Of course, rules aren't always followed. As any frequent flyer knows, security staff still spend huge amounts of time plucking scissors, knives, aerosols, bottles and toiletries in breach of the EU regulations from carry-on luggage.

"80 wheelie bins are filled up every day by items confiscated at security," Manchester Airport tweeted recently.

A quick look at the TSA blog (blogtsa.gov) shows 68 firearms were discovered in carry-ons around the US in the past week alone. Some 59 were loaded.

"When you figure out your suitcase, you figure out your life," as the fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg said. Cramming all you need into a carry-on bag is no mean feat, but putting a bit of thought into it means you not only save money, but you save time for yourself and other passengers.

Four steps to packing for airport security:

1. All good packing starts with a list. This stops you from forgetting the essentials, but also discourages you from throwing in that third pair of shoes.

2. Make a note to remove sharp objects, and have a separate set of travel toiletries permanently packed in 100ml containers in one, 1-litre capacity, resealable plastic bag. That takes away the stress of rebottling everything the night before.

3. When packing, roll clothes to save space, wear heavier items, and weigh your case before you leave - a kilo is a good gap to cover any shopping on the road.

4. When you hit the security queue, have a system ready to go.

Start removing belts, shoes and other items as you move forward, take laptops and devices out of their bags, and interact politely with security. Theirs is a gruelling job, with a scary bottom line, and that can of Brut in your bag ain't helping.

I just wonder what difference the next decade will make?

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