Security check is definitely the least enjoyable part of any trip. Good if you go through it smoothly, with no queues, no pat-downs, no back and forth with a metal detector and no trouble. But usually lines are long, you’re late and that metal detector just beeps for no good reason. Wouldn’t it be great to avoid this procedure? Maybe at least airline pilots don’t have to go through airport security? Are there any ways to make this experience less annoying and stressful?

In short – yes, they do. Although in all bigger airports staff has a separate security spot, pilots and flight attendants still have to show their luggage, take of their shoes and belts and walk through metal detectors. Of course, they do not have boarding passes, instead they use a special security pass, which allows them to be identified. In other words, people cannot just pretend to be airline pilots to dodge the lines or do something illegal.

In 2011 Transportation Security Administration tried relaxing security procedures for frequent flyers and pilots. It was decided that pilots will not be pet-down, their luggage will not be checked and they will not have to go through metal detectors. However, this practice did not spread and, at least for the most part, pilots still have to go through security checks in American airports.

This is how it all starts – you have to place all your belongings in plastic bins. (Mattes, Wikimedia(CC BY 2.0 de)

If you really hate going through airport security, you can pretty much just blame yourself. If you’re prepared, it is not such a negative experience. Here is some basic tips:

  • Don’t be late – there may be a line;
  • Pack your liquids, electronics and documents in an easy to reach area;
  • Do not try to carry more liquids or inappropriate containers – you will not “slip through”;
  • Do not try to carry a much larger bag than you paid for – while no one counts centimetres, better to save your nerves from stress;
  • Wear easy to remove shoes and, if possible, don’t wear a belt. Also, avoid clutter in your pockets;
  • If you broke some rule and got caught, admit your mistake and pay the price.

Airport security is here for our own safety so it is better to just embrace the process than to keep complaining. Pilots have to go through it too, even if they do not have to stand in lines. Just reserve more time for flying and come prepared.


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