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June 08, 2021

What tricks do you use to get through airport security?

Going through the airport in 2011 is tough. Like, cheap steak-, Canada Post trying to get its way-tough.

Istockphoto_8871331-airport-security But the seasoned traveller chalks up airport struggles with inexperience. Well, idiot, you got sent to the back of the line because you tried to bring shampoo in your carry-on. Of course you got pulled aside: you had your iPod headphones in in front of security. What, are you still wearing shoes?

Indeed, everyone has their ways to make travelling a little less hectic. Though could breezing through security a little faster come down to something simple – like maintaining eye contact?

That’s the contention in a new editorial from the New York Times. Jeanniey Mullen, a well-travelled exec, tells the paper that after she was pulled aside by security a few years ago, she asked the airport guards what the reason was.

“I was released after about 15 minutes, but during that time I did chat with the security agent,” she tells the Times. “I was told … one of the reasons I was pulled out for a more thorough check was that I wasn’t making eye contact with them. What can I say? It was a red-eye flight, and I was tired.”

Mullen says she always makes eye contact with airport security guards now and has travelled for years without incident. This may sound ridiculous.

But consider this 2009 feature from the Star (via the Consumerist), which details how Israel conducts its airport security. The entire, sprawling story receives insight from an Israeli security expert, who maintains his country bases all of its airport screening on human behaviour.

From checkpoints that ask benign questions to gauge the human response (“How are you? Where are you coming from?”) to interviewers trained to never look away from their subjects, it’s all in the eyes in Israel.

“Even with the heightened security in North America, they will check your items to death. But they will never look at you, at how you behave,” the expert says. “They will never look into your eyes … and that’s how you figure out the bad guys from the good guys.”

What tricks do you use to make airport travel a little more efficient? Is the eye contact theory real, or is it putting too much emphasis on something trivial?

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money

*Follow Jason on Twitter here.



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...