A Flight Attendant on What Not to Wear Through Airport Security


(Image credit: Getty Images)

No one ever wants to be that person—the one in the airport security line who just can't get it together and then holds everyone up. Maybe your missing hustle is due to a lack of airport experience, nervous energy, or the fact that you simply have too many things on your mind to focus on. Whatever the reason, there's no need to be the one person fellow travelers huff and puff over.

We tapped flight attendant Tara Stilley (she's traveled more times than she can count, so she clearly knows what she's talking about) to spill on the items that slow you down most at the airport.

Keep scrolling to check what not to wear through the security line, along with alternative travel clothing options as showcased on celebs. Plus, go a bit further to shop perfect pieces for travel.


Bulky Jackets
(Image credit: Victoria Beckham: Backgrid)

"Bulky jackets or oversize, loose clothing requires extra screening by TSA when worn through security. Also, fumbling with jackets being carried while trying to place shoes through the scanners and pulling liquids and laptops out definitely holds up the line." — Tara Stilley

Go for: A moto/denim jacket or a lightweight trench like Victoria Beckham is showcasing here.

Shop a non-bulky jacket:


Lace-Up Shoes
(Image credit: Jasmine Tookes: Backgrid)

"Shoes should be easy to take on and off. Boots with tons of laces or straps that require extra attention to take on or off slow things down on both sides of the security line. I usually wear sandals, anything you can slip on or off without requiring the use of both hands. Sometimes passengers qualify for Pre-Check, which allows them to leave their shoes on while going through security. Be careful with these—many high heels have nails in them that can set off the body scanners and will have to be taken off and put through the X-ray scanner, thus slowing down the line." — Tara Stilley

Go for: Slip-on sneakers or flats—similar to what Jasmine Tookes opted for in this travel look.

Shop travel loafers:


Metal Bracelets
(Image credit: Cindy Crawford: Stephen Crawshaw/Backgrid)

"Jewelry is kind of a no-brainer. Every passenger goes through a body scanner that is detecting certain metals, but it's hard to say what exactly it is they are looking for. Typically, I've seen metal bangles (bracelets) pose a problem." — Tara Stilley

Go for: Gold, silver, or other precious metals—simple jewelry like Cindy Crawford is wearing in this outfit.

Shop a necklace you shouldn't need to take off:


Hair Accessories
(Image credit: Elsa Hosk: Marc Piasecki/Getty Images)

"As for hair accessories, I've been told by a couple of co-workers that sometimes bobby pins have set off the scanners. Wouldn't hurt to just avoid metal hair accessories altogether." — Tara Stilley

Go for: Non-metal extras or no hair accessories at all à la Elsa Hosk with this travel ensemble.

Shop a headband to replace metal hair accessories


Excess Luggage
(Image credit: Gigi Hadid: @LucaSgro/Backgrid)

"Luggage is always problematic. Passengers bringing too many bags through security make the lines longer. There is more opportunity to forget about liquids or other things that are supposed to be removed. Also, it helps to stay organized and keep laptops and liquids near the surface and easily accessible. Avoid bringing plastic or paper bags through too. I've seen passengers trying to put bags through the X-ray scanners that don't zip or securely close and having to mess with it to make sure it stays upright and doesn't fall over and spill out while going through. It also makes it easier to overfill the bags, making it more likely to get knocked over at some point during the security checkpoint process. My advice is to be able to zip it and forget it." — Tara Stilley

Go for: Just the absolute essentials like Gigi Hadid is toting around here.

Shop more items perfect for traveling:

Next, check out the basics models wear at the airport.

This post was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.

Bobby Schuessler
Market Director

Bobby Schuessler is a fashion editor with over a decade of editorial experience covering shopping, style, and beauty. He's spent over seven years at Who What Wear, currently leading the market team to deliver highly covetable and convertible content. He creates data-driven shopping guides featuring top retialers like Nordstrom, Shopbop, and Net-a-Porter and is at the forefront of Who What Wear's shopping tentpole strategies, including Amazon Prime Day. He also works on branded content initiatives and appears on camera in video and shopping livestream franchises. He has also worked across a variety of other media brands and fashion retailers like Refinery29, PureWow, Men's Health, and Gilt covering commerce, trend reporting, women's and men's fashion, home, and lifestyle.