How to get through airport security faster this winter

Sports Equipment at security

How to get through airport security faster this winter

Travelling for Christmas?

During the holidays, thousands take to the skies to celebrate with friends and family. It’s the time of year to give gifts to our loved ones. That being said, there are some restrictions on what can be brought on board a plane. The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) has a few simple tips to get through security hassle-free.

Avoid wrapping presents: officers may have to unwrap them for control purposes. Wait until you arrive at your destination, or take advantage of some airports’ gift-wrapping services located past security.

Avoid bringing presents that contain liquid, aerosols or gels in your carry-on luggage. This includes: alcohol, wine, beer, snow globes, canned soup, maple syrup, perfume and lotions. Put them in your checked baggage or send them separately.

breeze through security


Going South?

If you are flying somewhere warm this winter, CATSA recommends these tips to make getting through the security checkpoint quicker and easier:

At home

Pack your sunscreen and all other liquids, aerosols, and gels in your checked baggage. If you need to bring some of these items in your carry-on bag, they must be in containers of 100mL or less and packed together in a clear, resealable 1L plastic bag.

On your travel day, avoid wearing clothing with metal buttons and snaps, and dress comfortably with easy-to-remove outwear, belts and shoes.

At the airport

Have your boarding pass out and ready to show the screening officer.

Put your sunglasses in the bin carefully so that they do not fall out during screening.

Remove everything from your pockets and put the contents in a bin before going through the metal detector.

 Passing through security CATSA

Flying with the kids?

Snowy weather and bulky outerwear can make flying in winter a hassle, especially if you have children. The tips below will help you and your family at the security checkpoint.

At home

Make sure your family wears easy-to-remove outwear and avoid clothing with metal snaps and buttons on your travel day.

Keep the kids happy by packing their favourite snacks – solid foods like fruit and chocolate are allowed in your carry-on bag. Liquids and gels are restricted to 100mL unless you’re travelling with a child under the age of two, in which case you can bring more than 100mL of baby food, formula, milk, water and juice.

At the airport

• Use the Family/Special Needs screening line for more assistance. You will find one at most major airports.

• Let a screening officer know if anyone in your family has special needs and requires extra time or help during security screening.

Make sure your family knows they will need to remove their winter outerwear for screening – coats, hats, etc.

Bringing sports equipment?

If you are bringing sports gear on a flight to hit the slopes, the ice, or the trails this winter, the following information will be useful.

Ice skates are the only winter sports item that is allowed in your carry-on baggage. For bigger items, like snowboards, skis and hockey sticks, you will have to include them with your checked baggage. Different airlines have varying restrictions on the size, weight and packing of these items, so it’s best to check with them prior to travel.

Be prepared, have fun and travel safe this winter.

For more tips on preparing for security screening visit or on Twitter, @catsa_gc.


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  1. says: Chris

    Having one of those suitcases with 4 wheels on the bottom (like in the pic) helps out a lot too as you don’t need to prop up your bag the entire time waiting on the security line.

  2. says: Mike

    Brand new to your blog, Samuel, after hearing amazing “word on the street” about it 🙂 I’ve not flown in years and the game has changed significantly. I want to get back out there traveling again so this was fantastic advice on the airport screenings! Thank you, so much! 🙂

  3. The TSA here in the USA has started something called “TSA Preckeck”. Low risk travelers can sign up for the program on the TSA website, go through a screening process and get expedited screening at certain airport (you can leave your shoes on, leave your coat on, leave your laptop and liquids in your bag, etc.) People that use it have told me that it is pretty awesome (and the line is usually MUCH shorter than the normal security line.)

  4. says: The Guy

    Some good tips here Samuel which are universal beyond Canada.

    As a frequent flyer I much prefer the airports with fast lanes for premium ticket holders or lanes for frequent flyers. This is a good way to avoid being held up by people who really don’t know what they are doing and have little idea of what to expect at the security check.

  5. says: Simon

    I hate going through airport security during the holidays – it always takes sooooo looong… Hopefully these tips will speed up the people ahead of me because you can always count on me picking the slowest queue possible (it seems there’s always somebody who has to keep walking through the scanner because they’ve forgotten to empty their pockets). Jeez, I sound like the Grinch. Have a great Christmas!

  6. says: Sylvia

    I travel every year for Christmas as I live abroad. It’s always difficult because some people still either don’t read how to go through the security or they do read but just ignore it and try to get through with drinks, food, sharp things, perfumes… Sometimes it’s upsetting as they try to argue with security and then other people how to wait even longer. Traveling over Christmas is stressing on it’s own especially with kids so people should really respect the rules.

  7. says: Andrea

    This has been one of the major drawbacks to moving back to the States. Ughhh! I cringe every time we have to book a flight and would almost always rather drive to our destination. Not looking forward to travelling over New Years at all…

  8. says: Jennifer

    All great tips! I’d add that people can help the line move a little faster by removing belts, shoes, and jewelry while waiting in line. Also have laptops out. Being prepared makes for everyone being a little happier!

  9. A few years ago at Heathrow they had to unwrap all of my gifts in my carry on… whoops! I’m not flying anymore until next year but these are great tips. Thanks for sharing!

    Happy travels 🙂