Flying Soon? Learn How to Love TSA

Admit it, most people who fly often find getting through TSA security a hassle. Some people outright hate it. I am the exception. I look forward to running the TSA gauntlet. That is because I think of it as a game. The goal is to get through without any hassle, beeping, or interrogations. My success rate is really high so I thought I would share with you my goofy tactics for surviving the maze that is TSA.

5 Goofy Tips for enjoying TSA:

1) Wear the right shoes. Unless you have not flown in the last few years you know you have to take your shoes off before going through the scanners. Is it stupid? Yes. Is it worth getting upset over? No. So instead of complaining just wear shoes that you can take off and put on with ease. That way it will take no time to remove them and put them in the bins.

My Goofiest idea: Wear awesome socks. We don’t show off our socks much in America because we don’t often have to take off our shoes. Since you have the opportunity to show off your socks at TSA why not wear socks worth showing off. I wore a pair of Disney Little Missmatched socks and the TSA employee commented on them. When I told him I wore them just for him he smiled. And how many times have you seen TSA smile?

2) Pack for TSA. I pack as light as possible when I fly and I usually have just carry-on luggage. Because I am not checking any bags it means that all my items have to go through TSA security. Like all games TSA has rules about what can be brought on the plane. Do the rules makes sense? Probably not all of them, but they are the rules of the game. I could get upset that I can’t bring something, or I can make it a challenge and try to pack so that my bags are not stopped and I am not delayed. I have not had my bags inspected for years. If you need help figuring out what can go into your bag check out the TSA website. They have helpful lists to make your packing easier.

Another Goofy idea: There are some items that have to be removed from your bag before TSA scans it, such as your clear toiletries bag and your laptop. When you pack make sure these items are in their own pocket or easily accessible in your bag. Speed is the name of the game and you don’t want to be digging through your bag with hundreds of stressed out travelers behind you.

3) Pay attention. I am not saying that TSA is perfect. I wish there was a different system, too, but they do try to give you as much information as possible as you play the game. However, all the signs in the world are not going to help you if you don’t notice them. Look around. Does everyone have their boarding pass out? Do you? As you approach the scanners notice what other people are doing. If everyone is removing their jackets then maybe you should, too. By paying attention you can remove a lot of hassle and win the game by getting through quickly.

4) TSA are people, too. I know we are all in a hurry and worried about a lot of things when traveling. If you listen to the radio it seems like TSA is determined to treat us horribly and act like we are all terrorists. But try to remember this: TSA employees are just people trying to make a living. Their job is stressful and most of them have no say in what they do. When I travel I am as polite as possible to the TSA employees. I find that 99% of the time they respond positively and I have a pleasant time playing the TSA game. So I know it is cliched, but think about walking a mile in their shoes. How would you react if customers came into your business and were sullen and rude to you because of policies you had no say in? I would be grumpy, too.

5) Smile.  This relates to #4, but is the most important tip I can give. If you smile then you have already won. Things can go wrong. I once waited in line forever because there was a new TSA employee who called for a bag check every five seconds. I could have gotten steamed and complained to all around me, but instead I just smiled and kept my cool. I have had many good experiences with the TSA employees and it always started with a smile. I feel a little sorry for these people, because I doubt they see many smiles in their job. Why not give them one as you play the TSA game and see if any attitudes change for the better.

Most people have to fly to get to the Disney Parks. (If you drive then you have other hassles to deal with.) I don’t see why the flight can’t be part of the fun. Play the glad game that I talked about in my Hayley Mills post as you travel through TSA and enjoy your entire Disney vacation, not just your time in the parks.

Goofy Tip: Pick your traveling outfit carefully. I make sure that I have no metal on my clothes and I wait until I am through TSA to put on my watch and any other jewelry. I keep my pockets empty and I pick a jacket that is easy to take on and off. When I get in line for the scanner I know that it will be a smooth quick process and that I have won the game. Happiness squared.