Getting through security can take some time if the airport is busy, so make sure you’re properly prepared and allow plenty of time to get through security.
Hopefully, you won’t be stopped by security and the process will be quick. If security stops you, don’t panic! It happens to all travellers at some point, so it’s useful to know some of the questions that a security officer might ask you.
Before your carry-on bag goes through the scanner, you may be asked a few questions by a security officer to make sure you have taken some particular items out of your bag. These items can be put in the same tray as your carry-on bag, but they need to be visible.
Here’s a typical dialogue for this situation:
A: Excuse me, madam. Have you taken all liquids out of your bag?
B: Yes, I have. They’re here in this plastic bag.
A: Please put them in the tray with your carry-on bag. Do you have a laptop or tablet in your bag?
B: Yes, I do. I have a laptop in there.
A: You need to remove your laptop and put it in a separate tray.
B: Sorry, I forgot about that.
Remember to remove all metal items from your body before you go through the body scanner. If the body scanner beeps when you walk through it, you will be politely asked to stop. The conversation is usually like this:
A: Could you please step to one side, sir?
A: Are you wearing a watch or belt? Are you wearing anything metal that could have set the scanner off?
B: Hmmm…no, I don’t think so!
A: Please stand with your arms out and your legs apart. I’ll use the scanner to find the problem. [Beep] There seems to be something in your pocket.
B: Ah! I forgot! I left some coins in my pocket.
A: Can you please empty your pocket?
B: Of course. Here you are.
A: Thank you. That’s fine.
Remember, you can only bring liquids in your carry-on bag if they are 100ml or less and they are put in a clear, plastic bag. You need to remove the clear plastic bag of liquids from your carry-on bag when you go through security. If you have liquid in your carry-on bag, you will be stopped at security and your bag will be searched after it has been scanned.
A: Is this your bag?
B: Yes. Is there a problem?
A: It looks like there is some liquid in your bag.
B: That’s strange. I thought I put all my liquids in the clear bag.
A: We’ll need to take a look. Could you open your bag, please?
A: You have a bottle of water in here. You can’t take it through security. You need to dispose of it.
Take some time now to look at the dialogues above. What do you notice about the way the security officers’ questions are phrased?
You may have noticed that they use “could” and “can” a lot. We use these words when we want to ask questions politely. “Could you open your bag?” is politer and less aggressive than saying, “Open your bag!”.