Guest Post: How to Get Through Airport Security Faster This Winter

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Words by Dalene Heck / Photography by Pete Heck

Traveling for Christmas?

During the holidays, thousands take to the skies to celebrate with friends and family. It’s the time of year to give gifts to our loved ones. That being said, there are some restrictions on what can be brought on board a plane. The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) has a few simple tips to get through airport security hassle-free.

Avoid wrapping presents: officers may have to unwrap them for control purposes. Wait until you arrive at your destination, or take advantage of some airports’ gift-wrapping services located past security.

Avoid bringing presents that contain liquid, aerosols or gels in your carry-on luggage. This includes: alcohol, wine, beer, snow globes, canned soup, maple syrup, perfume and lotions. Put them in your checked baggage or send them separately.

Going South?

If you are flying somewhere warm this winter, CATSA recommends these tips to make getting through the security checkpoint quicker and easier:

At home

  • Pack your sunscreen and all other liquids, aerosols, and gels in your checked baggage. If you need to bring some of these items in your carry-on bag, they must be in containers of 100mL or less and packed together in a clear, resealable 1L plastic bag.
  • On your travel day, avoid wearing clothing with metal buttons and snaps, and dress comfortably with easy-to-remove outwear, belts and shoes.

At the airport

  • Have your boarding pass out and ready to show the screening officer.
  • Put your sunglasses in the bin carefully so that they do not fall out during screening.
  • Remove everything from your pockets and put the contents in a bin before going through the metal detector.

Flying with the kids?

Snowy weather and bulky outerwear can make flying in winter a hassle, especially if you have children. The tips below will help you and your family at the security checkpoint.

Treveling with your kids-LR

At home

  • Make sure your family wears easy-to-remove outwear and avoid clothing with metal snaps and buttons on your travel day.
  • Keep the kids happy by packing their favourite snacks – solid foods like fruit and chocolate are allowed in your carry-on bag. Liquids and gels are restricted to 100mL unless you’re travelling with a child under the age of two, in which case you can bring more than 100mL of baby food, formula, milk, water and juice.

At the airport

  • Use the Family/Special Needs screening line for more assistance. You will find one at most major airports.
  • Let a screening officer know if anyone in your family has special needs and requires extra time or help during security screening.
  • Make sure your family knows they will need to remove their winter outerwear for screening – coats, hats, etc.

Bringing sports equipment?

Sports Equipment LR.TIF

If you are bringing sports gear on a flight to hit the slopes, the ice, or the trails this winter, the following information will be useful.

Ice skates are the only winter sports item that is allowed in your carry-on baggage. For bigger items, like snowboards, skis and hockey sticks, you will have to include them with your checked baggage. Different airlines have varying restrictions on the size, weight and packing of these items, so it’s best to check with them prior to travel.

Be prepared, have fun and travel safe this winter!

For more tips on preparing for security screening visit or on Twitter, @casta_gc.

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