New Study Reveals the Top 3 Mistakes Slowing You Down at Airport Security

These are the most common issues that are tripping up U.S. travelers.

Traveling by plane is one of the fastest forms of transportation, but that's only after you make it through the airport. Beyond battling crowds and waiting to check in, the most time-consuming part of the entire process is often getting through the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) line. There are many rules you have to abide by when getting checked by TSA, and sometimes even the most well-traveled passengers struggle to remember what to do and what not to do. Unfortunately, even minor missteps can result in longer wait times and delays.

But what usually trips people up the most when it comes to the TSA? A new study from USA Today surveyed 5,000 U.S. travelers from all 50 states to get insight on what's really contributing to delays in air travel these days. According to their findings, there are three things that commonly cause problems for travelers at TSA. Read on to find out the top mistakes that are slowing you down at airport security.

RELATED: TSA Officers Just Revealed the 6 Things They "Never Do When Flying."

Belts and shoes

Man Putting Shoes Into Tray For Airport Security Check

The stress of a TSA line can make any of us forget what clothing items we can and can't wear through security—so much so, in fact, that people say this is the issue that slows them down the most at the airport.

According to the USA Today study, 28 percent of travelers revealed that they had to be reminded to take their belt or shoes off at least once at a TSA checkpoint in the last five years. The agency requites you to remove these clothing items while you go through security unless you have TSA PreCheck, in which case you are allowed to leave your shoes, belt, and a light jacket on.

RELATED: 7 Clothing Items to Never Wear Through Airport Security, Experts Say.

Phones, jewelry, and keys

Woman giving container of personal accessories to security guard at airport

Getting beeped at by the body scanner can also slow you down at security, and just as many people says it has for them. In the study, 28 percent of travelers admitted that they have accidentally gone through the TSA scanner with their phone, jewelry, or keys in the last five years.

This is something the agency regularly advises people about, but of course, we all make mistakes.

"Ensure pockets are empty (keys, tissues, currency, wallets, cell phones, etc.) and remove bulky jewelry (valuable items can be placed in carry-on)," TSA states on its website.

RELATED: 7 Airport Security Mistakes You're Making That Add More Time, Experts Say.


Personal Items, liquids, and laptop in container during control at airport security check before flight.

It's not just the items on your person, however. You also need to take certain things out of your bags before they go through the scanner.

"Remove personal electronic devices larger than a cell phone from your carry-on bag and place them into a bin with nothing placed on or under them for X-ray screening," TSA reminds on its website.

Still, 23 percent of travelers in the study said that they have forgotten to remove electronics like laptops or tablets from their carry-on at a TSA checkpoint in the last five years.

Travelers in certain states are more likely to have problems at security.

Travelers in long lines at Denver International Airport going thru the Transportation Security Administrations (TSA) security screening areas to get to their flights.

Don't think you're immune to these potential troubles either. On the whole, 59 percent of all travelers have made a mistake at a TSA checkpoint in the last five years, according to the USA Today study. But the researchers also discovered that travelers from certain states are more likely to slow down the security line than others.

The 10 least efficient states at TSA checkpoints in order from the most inefficient are North Carolina, West Virginia, Arkansas, New York, Alabama, North Dakota, Utah, Illinois, Vermont, and New Jersey.

The study also found that some places are more prone to specific problems. For instance, residents from Utah and Illinois are more clumsy when going through airport security, while residents from Connecticut, Oklahoma, and Oregon were most likely to get stopped at TSA for having liquids in their carry-on bags.

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Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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