When it comes to airports, it usually seems like everyone is in a rush to get past security. But an easy way to reduce the hassle that is stripping off a bunch of your clothes, taking all your electronics out of your suitcase, undoing your shoe laces, and potentially missing your flight is to wear TSA friendly clothes that will get you past those X-ray scanners fast.
Sure, a lot of us would love to look like an off-duty celebrity at the airport, in chic designer clothes and oversized sunnies. However, thanks to all those rules and regulations, what you wear to the airport can determine how quickly you get past TSA, and thus, how quickly you get to your final destination. So while your cargo pants might seem like a great idea, leave them in your carry-on. And that fancy jewelry? It's probably better kept in a small bag in your purse.
No one likes holding up a line of people or ticking off TSA agents — especially not when you're already stressed about catching your flight. So I spoke to former LAX TSA agent of six years Kimberly Pruitt via email for some recommendations on TSA friendly pieces. If you want to avoid having to shamefully step aside for a personal inspection from the staff so you can get to your flight on time, here are nine pieces that should make your time in security as easy as pie.
Easily one of the most annoying requests TSA makes to flight passengers is taking off our shoes. When you think about all those bare feet that have walked on that same floor, though... OK, I'll stop there.
A good way to avoid struggling with your shoes and growing progressively more worried about catching a foot germ is by wearing booties with socks. "If you're a germaphobe, I would recommend the boots," Pruitt says. "These are easier than tennis shoes that you have to stop to untie and remove. You can wear ankle socks with the boots so that you don't have to walk on floors that millions of other people have."
2. Track Jacket
When it comes to jackets, TSA agents will sometimes ask you to take them off. According to Pruitt, however, as long as they're fitted, don't have sequins or other embellishments, and don't have a ton of pockets, they're pretty safe. "Nike is one of my favorite brands, so I would definitely suggest their leggings and a track jackets or even their dry-fit tees and soccer pants," she adds.
On that note, you can't go wrong with a pair of yoga pants, leggings, or track pants. They're meant to be comfortable and easy to move around in, after all. But they're also great for avoiding confrontation from any TSA agents.
Pruitt recommends them because they're fitted and won't have TSA agents questioning what might be in them (kind of like the cargo pants that Pruitt frowns upon for traveling). "Don't have pockets so you won't spend minutes emptying everything out of them," she notes.
Sometimes you might want going to the airport to be a fashionable affair. While Pruitt herself opts for the more athletic, comfortable sartorial route, she realizes some humans want to get dressed up. In that case, she recommends a flowing midi length dress in a soft material. "You can opt for something a little more flashy without overdoing it and setting alarms off," Pruitt says.
Just like booties, flats are "easy to slip on and off," as Pruitt describes them. Plus, they're perfect for achieving that professional, dressy look if you happen to be traveling for a more serious matter and not just spring break in Miami Beach. Choose a flat sans any buckles or metal embellishments, so as to avoid turning on any TSA alarms. If it's made from soft, suede materials, you'll be TSA friendly and also chic and comfortable.
6. Maxi Dress
"Although maxi dresses may not always be recommended because of the length and the assumption that something may be hidden," Pruitt says, "They're great for comfortability and better than wearing something with tons of zippers or pockets." A maxi dress is a great option for someone who doesn't want to wear athletic gear to the airport, and is certainly preferable to those aforementioned cargo pants.
Pruitt stresses the fact that wearing anything with pockets or zippers is going to make your TSA experience less than lovely. She suggests wearing a romper that's "fitted and comfortable, [with] no zippers or pockets," since it's an easy, one-step item.
Another important piece to the puzzle is what you're using to carry all your stuff. Pruitt believes you should opt for a tote bag with a zipped close. "This would be perfect for a carry-on because it can fit all your regular purse essentials and is big enough for a laptop or tablet," she says.
While zippers are mostly frowned upon on clothes, your bag is going through the scanning machine so the "zipper closures are recommended more than snap closures because you won't lost anything from your bag falling over in a machine."
As noted, anything that's metal or embellished is not TSA friendly. However, Pruitt knows that almost everyone wears some kind of jewelry. Although you are welcome to wear it to the airport, it's best to keep it off and stored away in your bag until you're past the checkpoint.
"The biggest mistake would be wearing a lot of jewelry that you have to remove, especially if it's something that has sentimental value," Pruitt says. "The majority of the time you do not have to remove it unless you're going through a metal detector, but if you do have to then I would have a zipper pouch just for that reason." Putting your jewelry on after the checkpoint screening means there's less of a chance of you losing it as well.
So, bon voyage dear traveleres. Get ready to breeze through security and start your trip off right.
Images: Fotolia; Courtesy Brands