This Winter Get Your Family Through Airport Security Quickly

Travelling with the family can be challenging, especially when you get to airport security. Following these tips from the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) will not only help bring the stress level down, but also get you through the checkpoint faster and easier.

holday_catsa_pins_en-08Download CATSA’s app
Go to CATSA’s website ( and download their “Breeze through security” mobile app. In addition to wait times, you’ll find information on what you can and can’t bring through security and helpful tips about the screening process.

Remember the 100ml rule
Put large containers of liquids, aerosols and gels in your checked baggage. Only amounts less than 100ml, placed in a 1 L clear, re-sealable plastic bag, are permitted in your carry-on baggage.

This includes beverages and non-solid food (e.g. yogurt, pudding and peanut butter).

However, beverages and food for children under the age of two are exempt from these restrictions (e.g. breast milk, formula, juice and purees). Keep these items within reach as they need to be inspected separately.

Leave gifts unwrapped
If you’re bringing gifts, leave them unwrapped in case their contents may need to be inspected. Some airports have gift-wrapping services located past security during the holiday season.

holday_catsa_pins_en-04How to pack your electronics for airport security
Bringing your children’s electronic games is a good way to keep them busy at the airport. To save time leave small electronic devices like tablets, e-books, cameras and handheld video games in their cases or in your carry-on baggage for screening, then simply place the case or baggage in the bin. If you travel with large electronic items like laptops, DVD players, netbooks, notebooks or game consoles (Xbox, PlayStation, etc.) you need to remove them from your carry-on baggage and place them separately in a bin. Make sure there are no other items on top or underneath.

Choose easy-to-remove outerwear
Make sure the little ones can easily remove winter jackets, boots and hats. These items must be placed in bins for screening.

Look for the Family/Special Needs lane
If you need help at the checkpoint, look for the Family/Special Needs lane. It features screening equipment that can accommodate larger items, like car seats and strollers, and screening officers who offer additional assistance.

Have your boarding passes ready
Remember to have all family members’ boarding passes ready for inspection.

If you have more questions about the screening process, you can find answers online at, on the go with CATSA’s mobile app or on social media (Twitter: @catsa_gc, Pinterest: CATSAGC). You can also watch short info video on CATSA’s YouTube channel. Bon voyage!


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  • Remembering the 100ml rule for gifts is important, too. A friend of mine had to hand over a l’Occitane hand cream she’d bought as a gift at airport security. It was the most memorable moment of her trip, and not in a good way 🙁

    • Oh no! Yeah, I’ve seen people having to toss their items in the security line, but I often think to myself, they needed to prepare ahead of time! Info like this is great to share on FB for that reason!

  • Easy to remove outerwear … on my flight last week I was amazed that I had to remove my jacket … and then my sweatshirt. Good thing I had a tshirt underneath!

  • helpful post! I dont have to worry about travel with my fam for awhile. my girls are still young and my oldest is autistic so not sure how she would do on a plane but great things to keep in mind

  • Great tips! I would also suggest applying for nexus passes for your family. Children under 18 are free and adults are $50 for 5 years. If you are just traveling to the States instead of internationally, this is all you need (no passports required!) and it’s like a fast pass through customs. Love it!

  • Another tip I’ve learned is to bring the receipts of the unwrapped gifts so you can show customs the value of the item.

  • All helpful tips! It’s kinda great there is that CATSA app to check waiting times and what to bring and not to bring. Very handy!

  • Those are really good tips. I had to remove a sweatshirt and get searched. I think it was because I fly in NS to surprise my best friend in her 40th bd. we stayed up pretty much the whole four days. I looked rough.

  • Good tips!!! going through security is the most stressful part of travelling for me.. especially with little ones

  • I am not traveling this holiday season but these are some great tips.. Having wrapped gifts can slow you down is something I wouldn’t have thought of.

  • I always to try to remember the 100ml liquid rule. I have often forgotten about this in the past and now I make sure I check all our items before travelling.

  • I would love to had one thing! If you can afford the $50 more for better seat do it! I did that on my last flight because they had no aisle seat left and I totally love it. I am now hook!

  • I would never fly during the holiday season. We just travel 2-3 hours by car to go see my parents. I usuallt have the packing done a week before we leave. The night before I check again and we leave. It’s such a stressful time.

  • Great tips!! Last time we flew I couldn’t find the chocolate milk bottle we had bought for my daughter in our overfilled backpack so I assumed I had thrown it out.. Nope! Security found it for me. Whoops!

  • Some excellent tips! I don’t have any plans on travelling this Christmas season but I know a few people that are.

  • I’m so glad I don’t have to get on a plane to visit my family for the holidays. We just have to drive an hour 1/2 to get to my families which isn’t to bad. Merry Christmas and be safe on your holiday travels.

  • Ha, I read this a couple of hours too late – I just wrapped all the gifts we’re flying with over Christmas!! Oops!! They hopefully will not need to be opened! All but 1 are going into our suitcases, not our carry on, and I think the items will be quite recognizable through the paper, but I guess if they have to open them it won’t be the end of the world, I will just re-wrap when we get there. I was just trying to save us some time doing it once we are on vacation. Good to know for next time! Oh, and one thing to note – kids don’t have to take off their shoes at security, in the US or Canada. But jackets yes.

  • what about some airlines that won’t let your camera be in your carry-on. I can’t imagine letting my camera get tossed around with suitcases……………….