Packing and preparing for airport security

by Asako Maruoka /
Asako Maruoka's picture
Nov 21, 2012 / 0 comments

As the holiday season approaches thousands of travellers will be packing and heading to the airport to make their way to visit family and friends. During these busiest travel days of the year, what and how you pack can determine whether your airport experience kicks off your holiday the right way or leaves you frustrated.


Airport security


“Knowing the rules and what to expect at the airport will reduce the time you spend at the checkpoint and increase the time you spend enjoying your trip,” says Mathieu Larocque, spokesperson for the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA).


Taking the time to pack appropriately before you leave the house will help make your trip smooth. Keeping an eye on what and how much goes into your carry-on bags will ensure you go through security screening faster.
CATSA has some advice to help you and your luggage get through security quickly.


Liquids, aerosols and gels in your carry-on must be in containers of 100ml or less and fit into a 1L clear plastic bag. This includes everything from toiletries to water and homemade jam. Any larger containers, or containers which won’t fit into the plastic bag, need to be put in checked bags.


Exceptions to this policy are baby food, formula, milk, water and juice if you are travelling with your child younger than two years of age. Medications are also exempt from restrictions. Present these to the screening officer separately.


If you purchased presents to bring with you on your holiday vacation, don’t wrap them until you reach your destination, even if you do put them into your checked baggage. If their contents need to be inspected, your wrapping job will have to be started all over.


Having a properly packed bag is half the battle; knowing what to expect at the security checkpoint is the other. Being prepared for the process can get you in, out and on your way faster than you can say “vacation.”


airport packing


The planning starts at home; once you have ensured your carry-on and suitcase are packed properly take a moment to consider your outfit. To reduce your chances of setting off the metal detector, limit jewellery and wear clothing without snaps, metal buttons or studs.


Your carry-on bag and personal items such as a purse will be x-rayed. Your cell phone, loose change, wallet and watches should be put in a jacket pocket and placed in a bin. Your laptop will need to be removed from its case before being placed in a bin. Other electronics like tablets, cameras, or MP3 players can stay in your bag.


Have your boarding pass ready and make sure you give yourself plenty of time so you are not rushed during the screening process. For more tips on what you can pack and how to get through security screening smoothly, see or the mobile site,