20 Common Mistakes People Make That Really Annoy TSA Agents

Traveling can be an exciting experience; however, it can also be a daunting one. For some, it can be a stressful situation to have to go through the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at the airports. They need to ensure the safety of their flights, while your goal is to be prepared. Knowing this, some travelers still make common mistakes. Here are 20 of them.

Packing their carry-on bags

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One thing that bothers TSA agents is when carry-on bags are stuffed with personal belongings. It makes it difficult for them to quickly and efficiently scan and identify the items inside. It is always important to pack your carry bags properly and make sure your items are easy to reach or remove for the TSA agents.

Not taking liquids out

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One of the more common mistakes travelers make is forgetting to take out liquids. In the majority of parts of the world, you are allowed a limit of 3.4 ounces of liquids in your carry-on bag. The airport provides plastic bags to put all your liquids in and close them easily. This should also be kept separately from your other items; however, people often disregard this.

Wearing too much jewelry

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Going through metal detectors is inevitable. Some travelers know not to wear any or too much jewelry, which sets off the detectors at the airport security checks. Readers Digest lists this mistake in their article on a new study: The Top 3 Mistakes That Are Slowing You Down at Airport Security. It is always better not to wear too many metal items or clothing that can delay things for you and everyone else. If you need to, remove the items from your person before time.

Not having forms of identification ready

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Crucial documents commonly needed at TSA checks include a passport/form of identification and your boarding pass. When you know you are about to go through the check-in, you should have these documents ready at hand. Scrambling to find your documents at the last minute is frowned upon. It helps to keep things flowing as well as avoid any unnecessary delays.

Ignoring or not understanding instructions

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If you want a hassle-free ride through any TSA check, you better behave. Those travelers who either misbehave or argue with the security officials at these checks tend to arouse suspicion, even if they are not a threat. No one wants this, so it’s best to listen to their instructions and do what they say for smooth sailing through any security check.

Taking forbidden items

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All airlines have a list of dos and don’ts on their website, and everyone should go through this properly before they pack their bags. This article can also help give you an idea of the 17 things that could get you flagged by the TSA.  On the top of this list are forbidden items such as alcohol, lighters, vapes, sharp objects, chemicals, tools, sports items, and more. If TSA agents find these in your bag they will most likely be seized.

Mixing items of different formats

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Organization and preparedness are key when traveling. The same dedication you take to book your vacation, accommodation, and fun activities is the same dedication that should be taken before and after the trip. This includes knowing what to carry in your bag and keeping items from different categories separately. Mixing your liquids with your electronics is a big no-no at security checks; however, people still make this mistake.

Leaving electronics and laptops in the bag

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A very common mistake people make when in a hurry to go through security checks is not removing their laptops or any electronic items from their bags during the screening process. The bins that are provided to you are meant for this, and all objects, excluding the clothes inside the bag, should be placed in separate bins.

Leaving your change in your pockets

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Metal detectors are often set off by change and metal objects left in your pockets. It is always advisable to remove these and place them in the bins before going through the metal detectors. Emptying your pockets is the best way to go, no matter what you have. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Taking food in your bags

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Food isn’t entirely prohibited when you are going through security checks; however, the packaging of the food is what often triggers the X-ray machines at TSA security checks. It is common for people to buy different food items from other countries to take back home with them or vice versa; nevertheless, always pay heed to the packaging, as things like foil wrapping in packaging can trigger an x-ray machine at the airport.

Having too much or undeclared money

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Not declaring large sums of money can appear suspicious in the eyes of security officials. Many people make the mistake of not declaring their cash stash, which can lead to unnecessary hassles if you don’t have the right paperwork. It is legal to carry huge amounts of money, but to avoid attention from TSA agents, get it declared.

Joking about serious matters

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Making jokes is always entertaining in the right settings; however, it is advisable to refrain from making certain types of jokes or mocking certain things, such as terrorism, radicalism, or bombs, especially when you are going through a security check at the airport. These are taken very seriously in such environments and circumstances. It can lead to legal consequences, and you may be interrogated for it.

Not being organized beforehand

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As mentioned in the previous point on ‘mixing items of different formats’, the same rule applies here – be organized and prepared at checks to avoid delays and negative emotions from all parties. Familiarize yourself with the information provided on the TSA website and airline websites, as well as the protocols, before time to make things more efficient and hassle-free for you and everyone involved.

Wearing shoes that are difficult to remove

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Wearing shoes that are easy to remove may not seem like anything to think about, but when you are going through a security check, it can help simplify and significantly avoid any delays for you and those in line when going through screenings. People often find it daunting to go through this process, so whatever helps to simplify things is suggested. Many people make the mistake of wearing shoes that are difficult to remove.

Out-of-control children

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There is nothing more irritating than unsupervised or out-of-control children at the airport. During any security process, always make sure your kids are well-behaved to avoid any irritations to agents and those in line. One way to do this is to speak to them, explain things to them, and relay the importance of this to your children beforehand.

Ignoring the recommended allowance for medication

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Liquids such as creams, gels, toothpaste, and aerosols have a recommended limitation of a maximum of 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) per item. They are also meant to be placed in a separate plastic bag provided at the airport before your checks. The mistake that many people make when they are in a hurry is to forget to do this, as well as to carry larger liquid items than what is allowed. Always pay heed to these two things and limit your liquids to a travel-size bottle, especially for carry-on bags.

Blocking or standing too close to the conveyor belt

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It is important when going through a screening to avoid blocking the conveyor belt with your bags. This is a mistake people often make and can easily cause aggravation and delays from those behind you. Keeping the area around the conveyor belt clear is necessary. Once you’ve placed your bags on it, move away or forward.

Leaving your things behind

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The excitement of going on a trip can mean getting safety checks over and done with and starting your holiday as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, being in a hurry isn’t always a good idea, as people tend to leave their belongings behind either at the checkpoint or inside the bins once they’ve gone through the detectors and regret it when it’s too late.

Arguing and misbehaving with TSA agents

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TSA procedures entail random checks, and those who make the mistake of refusing this or getting angry can be at risk of further interrogation or inspection. Keeping calm and collected is the better way of handling this, and don’t butt heads with any staff working at the airport, especially those dealing with security and safety.

Avoiding the lines

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People are often in a hurry at airports, and trying to skip a line or bypass it can be seen as rude or impolite. When you are at the airport, it is always best to keep calm and carry on! Don’t rush and feel like you need to be in front of the queue. Go with the flow; otherwise, you’re at risk of disrupting the flow of the TSA agents, and this is frowned upon.

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