What not to wear at airport security

SJ shares how to sail through airport security, having made all the mistakes so you don’t have to.

What not to wear at airport security

A regular travel contributor to YourLifeChoices, SJ has been to five of the seven continents and has lived in two.

Ahhh airport security. While none of us would dispute the necessity or importance of the process, it doesn't make it any less tedious.

As a constant failure of said screenings – not for life threatening reasons let me hasten to add – I feel more than equipped to explain exactly what not to wear/do unless you'd like to get held up, sent to the screener or worse, have the entire contents of your bag gone through.

What not to wear

Over the knee boots
Been there, done that. Nowadays, it's easier to just remove any shoes before walking through the detector, so long as you can take them off easily. It might seem sensible to wear rather than pack your heaviest or most delicate shoes, provided they won't have you balancing on one foot for ages as you try to get them off (and then back on)!

Chunky jewellery
While fine jewellery isn't really an issue, anything more substantial will have to be removed. Save yourself the hassle of multiple trips through the scanner, or the risk of losing or damaging your precious jewellery, by packing it instead.

Belts, buckles or embellished clothing
Unless you need a belt to hold up your pants it's best to just avoid the heavy metal. Anything that's not on a jacket you're going to remove will just set off detectors and delay your journey.

Too many layers
While it's tempting to travel in lots of layers – particularly given the temperature of planes – this can be more trouble than it's worth when it comes to going through security. Choose warmer materials such as cashmere or a thicker jacket and try not too wear too many accessories – another habit I'm guilty of. Hats and scarves are all well and good until you have to take them all off and put them all back on again.

airport security

How to prepare
Have all toiletries and liquids already in a clear sealed bag – this means you won't have to spend time repacking at the security checks.

Take electronics out of your bag, otherwise you'll just have to have your bag checked or rescanned.

Take off all watches, belts and jewellery before reaching the conveyor belt. This saves time and ensures you can put them in a safe place rather than throwing them in the tray, where there's the potential to forget to pick them back up.

Finally, one more word of wisdom, if you do get sent to the scanner, or your bag does go down the other belt to be screened further, don't get sassy with the staff. No matter how grumpy they are, they don't make the rules and they are following procedures to ensure all of our safety. Having an attitude or getting annoyed won't get you anywhere. If something you own does get thrown out, take a deep breathe, put it down to a life lesson and go find the nearest bar to drown your sorrows!

What’s your airport security disaster story? Tell us in the comments below.



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    8th Jul 2017
    I can't say that I agree with you on the necessity of security personnel. It is so over the top. I can travel anywhere on a train without any checks and if one compares the statistics, its far more dangerous than flying. Its only because the wealthy have an innate fear of tumbling to the ground that we go to so much expense.
    Look at the statistics and compare the fatalities of other modes of travel - like car travel! - How many deaths per year in Australia?
    But it keeps a whole lot of people in a job - so hey. I just have to make sure my shoes don't have any metal inside them.
    8th Jul 2017
    Obviously the extra security's working, I want to see it in action, knowing someone is looking after my safety gives me peace of mind, and I am certainly not wealthy. All of the information given makes good common sense, and I have never thought of it as a hassle.
    8th Jul 2017
    You obviously forgot how much damage an aircraft full of people can do Rosret! Cast your mind back to 9/11, that should work nicely for you.
    As Dim say's, the security IS working and it has ALWAYS been a necessity when flying. Nowadays it is not just for terror events, it is for stupid people who fail to read instructions when packing....a LOT of damage can be caused by people packing the wrong articles in their bag's etc. Remember the Samsung note 7 ?
    You also didn't hear about the shoe bomber? Shoe's are as dangerous as anything else....just go with it, it might just save your life!
    8th Jul 2017
    Ah Dim and HDRider - imagine how much fear costs you.
    I could say that I have insurance against Elephants crossing the road on Wednesdays and look its working - no elephants on Wednesday at all.
    Number of incidents in the air in Aus ...before 7/11 zero after zero yep the security is working.
    Trust me if they wanted to target us they would. Its our intel that saves us not the security checks.
    8th Jul 2017
    Pretty well agree with you re shoes and clothes. I've learnt to avoid belts after my first European trip where i had pants that definitely needed a belt . The time spent threading it in and out of my pants while holding them up with one hand was frustrating to say the least. I now breeze through security in comfy elastic wasted pants , light jacket, simple ankle boots that come on and off easily and minimal jewelry. Just not worth the effort of fussing with clothes. I also dont bother with makeup now when flying to keep carryon toiletries to a minimum ...just moisturizer and lip balm. It is so much more stress free to keep stuff to a minimum and frankly your fellow travelers don't give a rats
    Tom Tank
    8th Jul 2017
    Having knee replacements which set off the alarms I always take my shoes off before I reach that stage and put them on the conveyor with the rest of my stuff.
    I can't agree with Rosret for the simple reason that should something untoward happen at 10,000 m in the air thing things are very grim indeed.
    Aircraft do make a good target and we should be thankful for good aircraft maintenance and good security systems. It is because of those two in combination that makes flying safe compared to any other form of transport.
    8th Jul 2017
    I've known what to do for years and except for not knowing whether my shoes had a piece of metal in them no mistakes on my part. However I get checked most times cos my body's got extra bits; spine, ankle and knee. I always take a small bottle of soy milk for breakfast coffee. Never been queried yet and I have the one hit that makes my day go. Of course we both agree that security is paramount.
    8th Jul 2017
    Rosret you are quite wrong when you state "I can travel anywhere on a train without any checks". Having travelled pretty extensively through Europe by train I can assure you that there are plenty of security and bag checks at many many stations. A real pain but essential in this day and age.
    8th Jul 2017
    I am talking about Australia -> sadly Europe is at high risk.
    8th Jul 2017
    those of you who may find security at airports, even footy stadiums, remember 9/11.
    it's just a part of living in the world we've made.
    8th Jul 2017
    Not sure I agree about finding the nearest bar after being checked. Have you seen the prices airports charge for a cup of tea? Never mind a stiff drink to get you through!
    4th Aug 2018
    Travelling through a Brisbane Airport.
    I had the brilliant idea that as my wife was unable to manage a suitcase I would have a large suitcase with all of our luggage in one. Weight 35kgs assuming that as there was two of us our combined weight allowance was ok. Ha Ha! no such luck . I had to purchase a large plastic bag and re pack my luggage. then go through security only to be called back as one of my bags was not acceptable. I had to unpack again and throw away a bottle opener. I thought it was a bit over the top but if that keeps us safe its ok with me.
    15th Jun 2019
    If anyone wants me to take off my shoes when I go thru security will have to make sure that they are available to put them back on for me! Just because I have a disability which isn't noticeable, it doesn't mean that I don't have one.

    I can't put shoes and socks on at home without my carer helping me, let alone at a security line at an airport.

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