Help Yourself To Faster Airport Security This Summer

It’s summer, you’ve been planning your big vacation for a while, and all you can think about is getting to the lake/beach/mountain (select dream location here). But with your mind’s eye fixed on your destination it’s easy to forget about the journey, particularly security screening at the airport. The good news is that being prepared can help you breeze through the screening checkpoint, leaving you more time to shop, eat or just relax before your flight.

The first step is doing your homework so you know what goes in your carry-on and what goes in your checked baggage. The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) has some handy tools on its website, including a searchable “What can I bring” list that lets you know where to pack your items and what can and can’t fly. It also has a travel-checklist generator (insert reminder to water plants here), and tips for all sorts of challenges – from what to do with large sports equipment and medical supplies to travelling with pets.

According to CATSA, one of the biggest hold-ups at security is having too many liquids, aerosols and gels. Containers over 100 ml and 1 litre bags that are overstuffed with smaller containers (no seal; no deal) will need to be checked. As for that cup of java or water bottle in your hand – if it’s over 100 ml, be prepared to chug.

There are some exceptions, like liquids for kids under two years old and medication. You can check out more here. In all cases, the containers should be taken out of your carry-on bag and ready to present to the screening officer for inspection.

Once you hit the front of the line, it helps to have your boarding pass ready to show to the screening officer. You can also speed things up if you put any loose change, keys and small electronics (smart phones, cameras, tablets) in your carry-on bag so you can just drop it in the bin. If you’re travelling with a laptop or other large electronics (gaming console, DVD player) you’ll need to put them in a separate bin. For more information on what you can put in the bins at the checkpoint, you can find it here.

If you’re still wondering what to do with an item or want more information about security screening, you can always send questions to CATSA on Twitter or Facebook.

Lastly, travel is all about being mobile, so you should definitely download CATSA’s free mobile app. It’s available on Android, iOS and Blackberry, and can help you with all this and more, including wait times for security at most major airports.



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  • We often travel with the stroller. Make your life much simpler by having nothing in it at security because anything you gorgotten have will have to go back through screening. I have found the CATSA agents great about liquids for the kids which sure makes life much easier both before and after security so you aren’t rushing around trying to find a water fountain.

  • I remember the days of bring a bottle of wine on board to greet my friend with when she picked me up. So, so different and it drives me crazy being behind that person that isn’t prepared at all. Last trip the person in front of me had nail scissors, file, a full size bottle of hairspray, full size shampoo, etc, etc in her carry on!

  • I make it less stressful by packing most of my items in the checked luggage so I don’t have to be fumbling with my ziploc bag, electronic devices, shoes, jacket, passport, and tickets! Good tips for everyone to know.

  • Ahhh… wish that I was travelling somewhere exciting this summer but these are great things to remember for the future 🙂

  • I also find out that Montreal Airport is more stick about the size the bag that contain your liquid then Calgary the last time I travel.

  • I didn’t realize there was an app for the airport! We pack very light for carry -on and buy drinks after we get through security for the plane ride.

  • Great tips. Since you have to pay for bags I find that travelers are carrying way more on board which causes delays in boarding the plane and others have no where to put their carry on.

  • We’re pretty good now at not bringing any liquids at all in our carry-ons, although we still bring empty water bottles 😉

  • Love this post. Flying is something that I rarely do……like last time was 5 years ago when hubby graduated. Lots of stuff that I would certainly wonder about you answered in this post. I’ll book mark this for when I ever get to fly again 🙂

  • These are great tips and awesome refresher because I haven’t traveled anywhere in awhile now.When I do fly I am kind of stressed out already so knowing how to pack properly would at least take that much stress out of it.

  • I’ve just been to the States, had to be there 3 hrs early, stood in line for about 90 mins to get through security and I was screening ready, ridiculous! Others, even to this day, still had too many bottles/too much fluids with them in hand luggage, surely everyone knows about these restrictions now. Returning was a breeze 🙂

  • Thanks for the reminders. We are pretty good about carrying almost nothing through security. I have forgotten my fitbit on my waistband.