When people from outside of Canada talk to me about security they think it’s a bit of a joke. Canada is such a safe place and nothing goes wrong. Hell, the house door to my childhood home hardly even had a lock on it, and the door was left open more often than not. But the truth of the matter is that at the Canadian Airports they’re as strict as anywhere; just as friendly, but strict. It’s not a bad thing at all, as long as you know what you’re doing. I was contacted recently by the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority recently asking if they could post a write up in here on Brendan’s Adventures to promote the smooth process at Canadian airports this holiday season. Here are some of their packing and airport security tips.
Before heading to the airport this holiday season, take a moment to consider how you pack your bags and what will happen once you’ve checked in. Airports will see tens of thousands of travellers during these days, but being prepared for the experience can help make your vacation take off on the right foot.
“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).
Before you leave the house, take the time to pack appropriately to help make your trip start smoothly. 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 100ml (or smaller) containers and all items must fit into a 1 Liter clear plastic bag. This includes everything from shaving cream to water and peanut butter. Larger containers, or containers which won’t fit into the plastic bag, must be placed in checked bags or left at home.
Baby food, formula, milk, water and juice are all exceptions to this rule 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.
Although wrapped presents are permitted in carry-on, CATSA recommends you wait until you’ve arrived at your destination to wrap any gifts. Should the contents of the presents need to be inspected, even in your checked baggage, screening officers will have to undo your wrapping job. Several airports across the country offer a gift wrapping service inside the secure area. You can help a local charity and save yourself the hassle of re-wrapping gifts by taking advantage of these.
Having a properly packed bag is only 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.”
Before leaving home for the airport, you should take a moment to consider your outfit as well. To reduce your chances of setting off the metal detector, one should limit jewellery and wear clothing and shoes 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 also 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.
If you’re travelling with young children, carrying seats and strollers will need to be x-rayed. Give these items to a screening officer, and hold your child in your arms if they are unable to walk through the metal detector on their own.
If you have a NEXUS card, you can enjoy an even faster screening by using the dedicated lanes for Nexus members. For passengers travelling with young children or requiring extra assistance, you can use the Family/Special needs lane
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 www.catsa.gc.ca or the mobile site, m.catsa.gc.ca.