Decades ago, going through security was as simple as throwing your bags - everything still packed nice and neat - onto a scanner belt and then breezing through a metal detector. However, the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, called for stricter security measures, and less than two months later, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was created. It's no secret that going through the TSA security line is a drag. It's a hard, thankless job, and we find it best to avoid annoying the agents. Here are 14 different things you might be doing that are guaranteed to irritate a TSA agent.
1. Not having your ID and boarding pass out
First things first: Keep your ID and boarding pass handy before even making it to the security agent. Chances are, there's a line, so you likely have plenty of time to fish it out before reaching the podium. Searching for your documents at the last minute will not only hold up the queue, but also cause the agents to become annoyed.
2. Trying to sneak through the PreCheck line
Sure, accidentally wandering into the PreCheck line is forgivable, but some folks who haven't signed up for the service attempt to sneak through and reap the benefits of the expedited security line. We don't blame them - on the PreCheck line, travelers need not remove their shoes, belts, outerwear, electronic devices or toiletry bags. However, this is a paid service (some credit cards will reimburse you for the annual fee) and TSA agents don't want to be bothered by people who wrongly jump into the fast lane.
3. Not taking off your shoes
While we have been in a few airports where this isn't a requirement, removing your shoes is a pretty standard TSA rule. It's also an easy way to pick out the seasoned travelers from the newbies - the latter usually has footwear that isn't easy to remove (pictures lots of straps, laces and buckles). Forgetting to take off your shoes or waiting until the last minute to remove them can slow down the line and tick off most TSA agents in the process.
4. Forgetting to empty your pockets
Be it a rogue coin or lip balm, make sure your pockets are empty of everything. Not doing so can hold up the line or cause extra work for TSA agents. What's worse is when someone is flagged by the scanning machine and then needs to be searched by an agent - all while their bags, now on the other side of the belt, are waiting to be picked up, creating a backlog.
5. Abandoning your bags on the belt