by Vincent I. Porter

Navigating an Airport – Immigration and Security

Secrets of a First Class Traveller


You’ve gotten to the airport, and you’re checked in for your flight. Your bags have been tagged and they are on their way into the bowels of the airport ready to be sorted and put on your flight (we hope). What’s next?!

Depending on where you are travelling, you may have to do an immigration departure check, or go through pre-clearance. The process is roughly the same for each of these. You will want to have your passport and any visa or customs declarations forms ready to hand over for inspection. Some airports offer automated gates and services such as Global Entry in many US pre-clearance facilities, or E-Passport gates in many European airports. Check whether you have to register for these programmes, or if you have the appropriate documents to be able to use these facilities as they are often much quicker than the “regular” queue.

Once this is done, if it is required you will be funneled to the security checkpoint. The bane of most every traveller’s existence. Check what you are and aren’t allowed to take and be ready to take off your shoes if required, have any electronics screened separately, and remove your liquids from your bag for separate inspection. If you are a member of Global Entry, Nexus, or another trusted traveller scheme, you may be invited to a separate lane which doesn’t have these requirements; though you will always have to be security screened.

Be patient, but be ready. Make sure you have no metal objects or anything in your pockets that will be detected by a scanner. Have your boarding pass in your hand (and we like to advise to always keep your passport in your hand too). Being ready makes the process quick and smooth and is a courtesy to your fellow travellers.

Coming up next week, Departures areas and Lounges. What to do while you wait

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