Yes it is. Whether business or pleasure, travel is a good thing. However, the airport experience can be nerve-wracking, rushed, make you impatient and occasionally annoying. So how to avoid being unduly questioned, sent for secondary screening or being made to feel like you’re the criminal? Here’s how to avoid an airport interrogation – pack smart, be nice, smile and be patient.
For travellers checking luggage, don’t pack watches, alarm clocks or mobile phones – to a luggage screener that will appear like items for a bomb. All electronics should be put in carry-on luggage, as well as medication, jewellery, identification, wallets and documents. Anything that is difficult or expensive to replace should always be kept close.
Dress for Success
Loose comfortable layers of clothing makes it easier to battle the extremes of temperature from airport lounges to cool airline cabins. It also makes you more efficient when going through security, which automatically makes you less of a target for questions. For those who keep change in their pockets, clip mobile phones to their belts or wear Bluetooth ear pieces –place these items in your carry-on until after security. I’ve seen many businessmen get hot under the collar with having to remove Bluetooth ear piece, mobile phone, money clip, keys, shoes, belt, jacket. These are the rules, and security has no problem removing you to secondary private screening if you’re irritating staff through muttered complaints or whiny behaviour.
Don’t Be An Ass
With customs and security, avoid being a smart ass, telling jokes or commenting on how slow the process is – employees who are screening hundreds of people every day will not appreciate the commentary and will certainly focus their eyes on you. Any comments about hijacking or weapons will be taken seriously – just don’t, okay?
Remember what your Mother said about not saying anything unless you have something nice to say? That’s the rule. And if you have a question, be polite and smile. It goes a long way with the employees who want to get you through quickly and efficiently. If you’re running late, look for an employee and explain – they generally will allow those passengers to go to the front of the line – just be sure to act humble.
Fill out the customs forms, don’t be distracted by your mobile phone, family or friends and answer the questions. Remember it’s not your right to go to another country, it’s a privilege. Smile and be respectful. This isn’t the time for selfies, taking photos or to be disruptive. I’ve witnessed people being line-jumpers or ignoring officials because of their own apparently important conversations. Pay attention and all will go well. Treat it like a joke and be prepared to be questioned in a small airless room.
For those curious about the rules – Canada Border Services