Airport security screening
On this page
- What to wear
- How to pack
- Be prepared!
- Religious, cultural and ceremonial items
- Security Screening: video
What to wear
Since all passengers must pass through a walk-through metal detector, we suggest you decrease the likelihood of setting off the alarm:
- Dress comfortably with easy-to-remove outerwear, jackets, belts and slip-on shoes
- Limit jewellery to small earrings, watches, wedding bands/engagement rings, eyeglasses
- Wear clothing without snaps, metal buttons, or studs
- Avoid wearing shoes with metal arches, buckles, steel-toes or shanks
- Avoid wearing belts with metal buckles.
- Remove hidden body piercings before you fly
Most belts have metal content which may trigger an alarm that can only be resolved by undoing the belt. Please note that passengers are always asked to unbuckle the belt themselves and to hold its ends apart.
Remember, if you set off the alarm while walking through the metal detector you will have to undergo further screening to determine its source. This may include hand “wanding” and/or a physical search.
How to pack
Your carry-on baggage and bins will go through the baggage screening x-ray for careful examination by a Screening Officer. Here are a few tips to minimize the potential for the further delay of an additional carry-on baggage content search:
- Avoid over-packing! Always pack smart.
- Ensure your carry-on baggage has easy access to remove your laptop computer, video and film cameras.
- Place personal toiletry items in clear, see-through bags. Only bring liquids, aerosols and gels that are packaged in containers with a capacity of 100 ml / 100 grams (3.4 oz) or less, and ensure that the containers fit into one transparent, closed and resealable plastic bag with a capacity of no more than 1 litre (1 quart).
- Exempted liquids (breast milk, medication) should be packed so that they can easily be removed from carry-on baggage for inspection.
- Avoid packing gifts and souvenirs containing liquids, aerosols and gels in your carry-on. These include: liquor, wine, beer, snowglobes, cans of condensed soup, maple syrup, perfume, and lotion. Put them in checked baggage or ship them separately.
Remember, all passengers have to go through airport security screening. Common courtesy and patience go a long way in making the process less stressful and more efficient for everybody. Make sure you:
- Tag your carry-on and checked baggage with your contact information.
- Have your boarding pass ready to present for verification. At some airports, the validation of your boarding pass will be done automatically by a scanner.
- Give yourself plenty of time – go through pre-board screening well in advance of your flight especially during peak travel periods (early morning, noon, and early evening).
- Leave empty baggage carts outside of the screening checkpoint.
- Remove coats, suit jackets and blazers and place them in the bins provided.
- Empty the contents of your pockets and place these items in the bin before walking through the metal detector.
- Keep all phones, MP3 players and GPS equipment in your carry-on bag. They do not need to be screened separately.
- Remove laptop computers and netbooks from their cases and place them in the bins provided.
- NEVER joke or make “small talk” about bombs, firearms or other weapons while going through pre-board screening. Depending on the circumstances, you could be charged with an offence under the Canadian Aviation Security Regulations, 2012.
- Understand what to expect during a physical search.
For a complete list of air travel prohibited items in Canada including baggage carry-on restrictions, please visit the CATSA Security Screening - Breeze Through page.
Religious, cultural and ceremonial items
Screening Officers are trained to use common sense and courtesy when screening persons carrying or wearing objects of sensitive, religious or cultural significance. When you enter the screening checkpoint, notify the Screening Officer that you are carrying articles that have special religious, cultural or ceremonial significance. All such items will be subjected to individual screening.
Please note that certain items are not permitted through the pre-board screening checkpoint (e.g. religious knives, swords, etc.) because they are sharp objects. Any item that may not be allowed past the pre-board screening checkpoint should be packed in your checked baggage. Please visit the CATSA Security Screening - Breeze Through page.
If you wear a head covering (or turban) as part of your religious beliefs, you will undergo security screening while wearing your head covering. To speed up the screening process you should remove any metal objects from your head covering before you go through the screening checkpoint.
If your head covering causes an alarm to sound, a physical search will be required. The alarm must be resolved. In most cases this will not require you to remove your head covering. The physical search may be conducted in a private search room at your request.
Security Screening: video
Before you fly, learn the rules. Follow these tips on how to get through security screening hassle-free.
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