Recently, there has been a lot of hype about airport security. It’s been reported that airports are extremely short-staffed on TSA agents. This is leading to fewer security lines open, and in turn longer lines and wait times.
Travel and Leisure Magazine reported that passengers at Los Angeles International airport wait an average of 40 minutes for security. And they predict those times are only going to get longer throughout the summer.
I have met approximately zero people who have expressed excitement in the idea of having to wait in lines. In fact, waiting in TSA lines can be so stressful that people straight up snap.
In an effort to reduce this stress and help keep your mind off the wait, here are some things you can do to occupy your time while waiting in line.
Ready Your Mind
It’s best to arrive at the airport expecting that you are going to have to wait. This way there is no surprise if there is a long wait time. Get good sleep the night before your flight to help keep away the crankies.
Stock Up on Snacks
Waiting in line is not the time to let the hangry-monster come out. Bring some granola bars or fruit to keep your belly at bay. TSA allows fresh, whole fruit to go through security so if you don’t eat all your snacks you’ll be okay.
While you can’t bring your full water bottle through security, you can drink it while in line. That way when you get through security, you can take your empty water bottle and fill it up again at your gate. It’s important to stay hydrated while flying. Just make sure you pace yourself, because you don’t want to end up with a bathroom emergency while waiting!
Charge Your Electronics
For those of you fortunate enough to own electronic entertainment devices, this is where they really come in handy. Get lost in some Angry Birds while you wait. Check your Facebook or emails. Get caught up on the latest Archives of Adventure post (shameless plug…). Text your mom and say hi. (Hi Mom!) Make sure your devices are fully charged before heading to the airport, for maximum entertainment time. Just don’t allow yourself to get too lost in your electronics. Nobody wants to be that guy who doesn’t move up in line because he’s too busy scrolling through Instagram.
Bring a Book
Another great way to pass the time is to bring along a good book. Not only does reading help to occupy you as you wait, it is also good for your mind! The best part is you don’t have to worry about the battery in your book dying! Or having to connect it to wifi in order to keep the pages turning! Again, just be mindful of the line moving as you read.
Tweet Your Times
Passengers have been taking to social media to vent their wait time frustrations. Tweet your wait times and photos of the line with the hashtag #ihatethewait. Just be sure not to get any TSA agents in your photos, for reasons of security. You can also search for others who have used the tag and scroll through to see who has it worse than you.
Breathe & Reflect
If you feel your stress levels rising, it’s time to start that breathing. Focus on controlling your breath and slowing your mind’s thoughts. Take some time to reflect on your travels. Where are you going? Where have you been? What was the best part of your trip? What are you most looking forward to? Calm your mind and remember that you will get there eventually.
Commence Prep Mode
There’s a whole checklist of things you can do to make sure that you are all ready when you finally reach that conveyor belt. Make sure all your liquids are in under 3-ounce containers and are all in one quart-sized bag. Take off your watches, belts, and anything else metal that may make you have to go through the detector again. This hold up the line. Get all the change out of your pockets. Loosen the ties on your shoes so you can slip them off. Have your laptop ready to be taken out. Ensure you don’t have any prohibited items on you or in your carry-on luggage.
Keep your ID (and/or passport) and airline ticket out. If you have multiple tickets printed, you will only need the one for the airport you’re departing from.
What are some of your tips for long airport security lines? Share them in the comments below!