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Airport Travel Tips

Reader's Digest / October 2016

How to get through a terminal with minimum fuss

Plan Ahead
Minimize your wait by scheduling your departure to avoid peak hours such as weekend mornings. Some airports have more than one access point for security; do a quick Internet search or ask an airline agent for the fastest line. If you often travel outside the country, the $50 fee for a five-year NEXUS card could save you as much as 90 minutes in a busy customs queue.

Pack Smart
Avoid an unwanted search—or having to toss your beloved face cream—by packing properly. Bottles or containers of liquids (100-millilitre format max) belong in a clear resealable bag (no more than one litre), and only one per person. The exceptions are baby food and milk.

Suffer the Search
Since 2010, Canadian airports have installed full-body scanners that reveal what’s under clothing. If you’re selected for such a scan, you can choose a manual pat down instead. Someone of your gender will do the search, and you can request a private room with a witness.

Share Your Gadgets
If an agent asks for your phone or computer password, do you have to give it to them? It’s a hot-button legal issue, but the short answer, for now, is yes. You could be criminally charged for refusing.

Say Just Enough
Unlike cops, who need “reasonable grounds,” customs agents can ask you anything. To co-operate, aim for succinct, direct and polite answers.