Holiday travel tips to get you through the airport quickly

Travelling around the holidays is always a bit more challenging than usual; the queues at the airport are a little longer, everyone is lugging around their bulky winter gear, not to mention the added bags and parcels as travellers try to bring presents as carry on. Maybe it’s the excitement of it all, but for some reason I tend to get bug brain during the holidays and I’ve been known to make some pretty silly packing faux-pas.

Last winter I accidentally stuffed a jar of creamy maple fudge into my carry on instead of my checked luggage. Sadly, it was over 100 ml so I had to part ways with it! And a few Christmases back, I slowed down the security line because I had wrapped presents, which then had to be opened and checked by the agents.

That’s why when the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) offered to share some helpful travel tips to get you through security faster, I was happy to offer them the floor. Now over to them:

Download CATSA’s app

Go to CATSA’s website and download their “Breeze through security” mobile app. In addition to wait times, you’ll find information on what you can and can’t bring through security and helpful tips about the screening process.

Remember the 100ml rule

Put large containers of liquids, aerosols and gels in your checked baggage. Only amounts less than 100 ml, placed in a 1 L clear, re-sealable plastic bag, are permitted in your carry-on baggage. This includes beverages and non-solid food (e.g. yogurt, pudding and peanut butter). However, beverages and food for children under the age of two are exempt from these restrictions (e.g. breast milk, formula, juice and purees). Keep these items within reach as they need to be inspected separately.

Leave gifts unwrapped

If you’re bringing gifts, leave them unwrapped in case their contents may need to be inspected. Some airports have gift-wrapping services located past security during the holiday season.

Holiday Travel Tips To Get You Through Security Quickly

Have electronics ready for airport security

Bringing your children’s electronic games is a good way to keep them busy at the airport. To save time leave small electronic devices like tablets, e-books, cameras and handheld video games in their cases or in your carry-on baggage for screening, then simply place the case or baggage in the bin. If you travel with large electronic items like laptops, DVD players, netbooks, notebooks or game consoles (Xbox, PlayStation, etc.) you need to remove them from your carry-on baggage and place them separately in a bin. Make sure there are no other items on top or underneath.

Choose easy-to-remove outerwear

Make sure the little ones can easily remove winter jackets, boots and hats. These items must be placed in bins for screening.

Look for the Family/Special Needs lane

If you need help at the checkpoint, look for the Family/Special Needs lane. It features screening equipment that can accommodate larger items, like car seats and strollers, and screening officers who offer additional assistance.

Have your boarding passes ready

Remember to have all family members’ boarding passes ready for inspection.


If you have more questions about the screening process,  you can find answers online at, on the go with CATSA’s mobile app or on social media (Twitter: @catsa_gc, Pinterest: CATSAGC). Bon voyage!

Join the Conversation


  1. Packing your shoes in the bottom of your bag will help to put some weight on the wheels of your luggage and make it easier to remain balanced, especially if you’re rushing to your gate.

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