I would call myself a wanna be geek, hopefully some people think of me as a geek – but I am not a geek at the level I would like to be. Anyway, geeks tend to have lots of gadgets on them. And traveling via airlines, with the security and metal detectors are never fun. I thought it would be fun to write this entry while on my flight back from STL to LGA today.

How do I prepare for traveling like a geek:
(1) Wear pants with large pockets
(2) Wear a shirt with a breast pocket
(3) Make sure to put essentials in laptop bag
– Bose noise canceling headphones
– Treo 650 charger
– Bloothtooth ear piece
– Laptop charger
– Digital Camera
– Wired and MacWorld magazines
– Airline tickets

Preparing to walk through metal detector
(1) Place all devices from cargo pants into laptop case side pockets
– Throw change in small zipper in laptop bag
– Place bluetooth headset with treo in laptop bag
– Don’t forget the digital camera…
(2) Place airline ticket in breast pocket on shirt
(3) Open main laptop zipper to quickly remove laptop from bag
(4) Untie shoes
(5) Loosen belt
(6) Look yourself up and down
(7) Locate a security bucket/bin to place your items in for scanning (preferably two security bucket/bins)

The walk through:
(1) Remove laptop and place in security bucket/bin
(2) Place laptop bag in other security bucket/bin
(3) Put belt and shoes in same bin with laptop case (or a third one)
(4) Remove airline ticket from breast pocket
(5) Make eye contact with airport security man/woman
(6) On queue smile and walk through scanner
(7) Pray nothing buzzes

Post walk through:
(1) Laptop goes back in laptop case and remove security bucket/bin from desk
(2) Remove items from laptop case (camera, treo, bluetooth ear piece, change, etc.)
(3) Close laptop case and move next to you on side
(4) Put on belt
(5) Put items back in pockets (change, etc.)
(6) Remove remaining items from bin and place on the side
(7) Put on shoes
(8) Scan area for remaining items
(9) Grab laptop case and any other items
(10) Continue to gate, keep eyes pealed for seat with nearby electrical outlet and wifi signs

That is what goes through my head prior and during the process of passing security at the airports.

Oh, I don’t like to wear watches in general – so one less item.

Website Comments

  1. Hawaii SEO

    If you want to be a Total Geak…

    Get yourself a “Suitcase Coat”

    It’s basically a big raincoat that’s covered with huge pockets on the inside.

    “The pockets are big enough to hold shirts/blouses, sweaters, pants, underwear. And hold them smugly in place while you go to the head of the line.”

    It makes the perfect gift! (maybe not)

  2. Lee

    This is too good Barry. One thing I do a bit different is to make sure I’m wearing slip-on shoes, like driving shoes. Easy to get off and back on.

  3. Vic

    This is a funny yet useful post – it might even serve as a ‘quick reference’ check list for many 🙂

    It also reminds me of an experience that I had had early last year, when I had to carry a Sony AIBO entertainment robot through airport security.

    Never quite having seen one before, they wanted it to be switched on and to test it. I complied after some protests (and a fair warning) and oh boy, did it cause a proper ‘traffic jam’ until finally, they asked me to pack it up and get my… er get moving, pronto!

  4. NightOwl

    Hi Barry, hi all,

    thanks for the humerous, but ALL SO TRUE & USEFUL Check-List you came up with for the frequent air traveller. Oh, how I feel with you and your experiences, could share many weird episodes, trust me …

    However, I have a question you might have some helpful hints for me or even share the possible bad outcomes of the airport scanning procedures gone wild.

    Crossing the Atlantic several times a year, I went through dozens and various even deeper checks on airports than anyone can imagine. All kinds of intl. machine-scans involved. So far so good.

    Leaving the US or EUR means nowadays that your luggage, including all your e-gadgets/notebook will have to undergo extreme loads of scanning, sometimes even SEVERAL times on one single trip. You might imagine the hassle!

    Coming back this time my robust and so far never-ever troubled iBook-G4 blew out it’s HD-life just shortly after beeing scanned by FLA/Ft. Myers Intl. Airport Security. Now is this just bad luck, sheer coincidence or have you EVER had any such things happening to you too or anyone you know? Does this sort of bad aftermath occur more often?

    After all, the strong magnetic fields generated and the X-ray load on the laptops, aren’t just “fun” for the mobile machines or the HDs.

    I’d appreciate if ANYONE would share their knowledge with me. Thanks in advance!

    Have a safe flight experience with NO DAMAGES to your e-gadgets!!!!

    Best reagrds

  5. A.J. Schreiber

    One more thing to add…

    NEVER, unless totally necessary, check a bag. Depending on what airport you find yourself arriving in, you can add anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour to your trip waiting for your bags to show up.

  6. Chip

    God, I wish everyone going through airport security was as well prepared. I feel like I’ve got it down to a science (almost exactly the same as your routine, plus this last trip I kept a plastic shoe-horn in my pocket to get the shoes back on that much quicker), and I get stuck behind people who argue about having to take of their shoes. I actually heard this in LGA this last Sunday: “Ma’am, you’ll need to take off your jacket” “But I’m wearing metal bracelets.” What?!? (found you from Digg)

  7. Traveler

    Almost exactly how i run it. However, i would add this, Keep “loose” items to a minimum, sunglasses, etc, and place in the laptop bag/carry on what have you. After you’re scanned, grab your laptop, laptop bag, shoes and belt, and get the h-e- double hockey sticks out of the line. Put your shoes on further down the way, most airports have chairs immediately after for such a purpose.

    This way, you’re not holding up traffic, and also emptying your bins quickly so that they can be ushered down to the poor souls behind you.

  8. Richard

    I developed a similar routine. I would add

    * Take off your belt

    Different airports have their metal detectors calibrated differently.

  9. Spok Jr.

    Geeks can’t say “BREAST” without breaking out in giggles which would cause you to go through further security involving body cavity searches. Ixnay on the Body cavity searchay.

  10. what?

    u r not a geek but a retard. this routine is something one should not be going through in mind beforehand. it doesnt require any use of brain. y waste it on iteration?

  11. Manitcor

    I wouldn’t call it obsessive planning particularly if you fly often.

    I have almost the exact same routine when I go through security. Not only does it make it quicker for everyone but TSA officers seem to bug you less when you know the drill and move through quickly without causing a fuss.

    The sad thing is, prepared people are in the minority it seems when waiting in line for security. It is astounding the number of people who are still surprised/shocked when they find out they cant have their water bottle or they have to take off their shoes. Even when there are 50 signs a TV and a audio announcement giving instructions.

  12. n0s0ap

    Oh man, yeah it’s good to have a pre-formed plan in your head before you get there. It’s so easy to forget things while you’re in the line. I usually stuff every thing I can into my bag before hand and then after I’m past security I redistribute.

  13. Just Another Geek

    Two suggested additions to your list:

    1. Wear slipper sandals (with socks). It may look funny, but you can take them off and put them back on quickly and without hassle.

    2. Make a belt with nylon webbing and a plastic buckle. You don’t have to worry about your belt buckle setting off the metal detector.

  14. komandor gruzel

    You seem to be well suited for living in “modern society” (a synonym of “big brother state”).

  15. komandor gruzel

    You seem to be well suited for living in “modern society” (a synonym of “big brother state”).

  16. jeff

    same with me… everyone else is just putting down their bag and walking right through.

    not me. and then everyone wants a seat by the gate entrance, i say i need to sit by an outlet…

  17. Zach

    Why not just bring less stuff? When I travel, its my notebook and cell phone. Either I wear sandels or flip flops. Everything else is packed in my checked in items. Why wear a belt? Thats just one more thing to worry about. And why not wear shorts and a tee shirt when you fly? That makes things a lot more easier.

    I’m all about traveling light.

  18. Markus Sorensson

    Geeks use PCs, not Macs (hence MacWorld shouldn´t be on the list).

  19. Farmer Tomato

    Actually, retro-geeks use PCs. Uber Geeks use Macs. Real geeks do it all in their heads.

  20. bdbmoi

    I agree with Barry and anyone else who has to fly regularly, be as prepared as you can. It just slows everyone else down when your not. I think part of the probelem is that the TSA hasn’t figured out how to educate people on packing smarlty for traveling. Even seasoned travelers I have talked to don’t know that there is a 45″ linear limit on carry-ons. How many travelers really know if their primary shoulder or backpack bag will fit under the seat in front of them?

    I think it would be great if a bag manufacturer designed a bag that helps you pack smarter for getting through TSA and working/relaxing during traveling. Simple things, like a vertical(laptop)loading format with a top flap would keep the width of the bag to a minimum and allow flyers to access the contents of their bags without having to remove them from under the seat.

    Instead of thinking about real needs, bag designers seem to be concerned about how many pockets,pouches, flaps, zippers, straps, and other inkydinks they can sew into the inside to make it appear like your getting more for your money. Thanks, I feel better now…..

  21. bdeb

    Great job Barry. You must fly a lot for business. If I had to guess, maybe your 32 yrs. old??

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