Every time I set foot in an airport I’m overtaken by the urge to look like I know what I’m doing, which is quickly followed by a desire to actually know what I’m doing. And sometimes I fail on both counts. While I’ve learned much about travel the hard way, I do try to learn from my blunders. Here now, five common mistakes that are all too easy to make at the airport, and how to avoid them.
1. The mistake: Using too many pockets Given how diligently airlines limit our carry-on luggage while simultaneously trying to charge us more for checked baggage, it’s no wonder that multi-pocket travel jackets – which don’t count toward a flier’s carry-on baggage allowance – have become quite popular. And one side-effect of these specialty jackets are travelers who can’t remember which pocket holds what at pivotal moments, say, when a TSA checkpoint officer is asking to see your boarding pass and ID.
Avoiding it: After making this mistake too many times, I realized that just because my jacket has 22 pockets doesn’t mean I have to use them all. And, I’m now more disciplined about using the same pockets for the same items, every single time.
2. The mistake: Going on a bin binge I see plenty of confusion when it comes to the plastic bins at security. One mistake is placing your actual carry-on in a bin rather than directly on the conveyor belt. Another is using way too many bins, putting your shoes in one bin, your multi-pocket travel garment in another, your laptop in yet another, etc.
Avoiding it: While this shows TSA screeners how organized you are, what you’re mostly doing is giving yourself too many bins to track down when you get to the other side of the conveyor belt. Focus your energy instead on making the inside of your carry-on more orderly and x-ray friendly, as suggested in the handy TSA article How to Get Through the Line Faster.
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