Carry On Bag etiquette -- definitely a must-read prior to the holiday traveling season. It will make your life so much easier.
My tips --
1. Leave the laptop at home. It's really, really, really not worth dragging it through security and depending on airport and/or destination, there could be a possible of confistication.
2. Wear shoes that can easily slip on/off. Forget the laces. It takes too long. And oh, wear socks. Your feet will appreciate it.
3. Don't wear anything with metal on it. Seriously. This could include the belt buckle, the hairpin in your hair, the fastenings on your jeans. The list is endless and I've been pulled aside so many times for the rivets on my jeans. So now I go with plain old khakis.
4. Take out your baggy if you're carrying on your bags before you get to the security line. I used to keep my toiletry baggy in th front pocket of my carry-on suitcase, but it took too long to get out, so now I carry the baggy in my purse and it's much quicker to take out.
5. You have to take your jacket off before going through security. If there is anyway you can avoid wearing a jacket, I totally recommend it. The more things you have to take off/take out for security, the longer it's going to take to get through. So minimize.
6. On the plane, if you're carrying on, you're allowed one carry-on bag and one personal item for most airlines. If you have a suitcase, it better fit in lengthwise in the overhead bin or frequent flyers like me will glare at you for taking up more space than you're supposed to. Your personal item should fit in your seat pocket or under the seat in front of you.
7. If you're in an aisle or middle seat, don't buckle up until your entire row is seated. The sooner you can get up and out of the way, the sooner your seatmate can sit down, the better. Plus, on a personal level, I hate getting buckled up and comfortable only to get up every 10 seconds to let someone in.
8. If you're locking your bag, use a TSA-approved lock. Those are locks that have a specific marking on them and can be opened by the TSA if they need to look in your bag. If you use any other kind of lock, such as a pre-9/11 lock, they'll cut it off to look inside.
9. If you do persist on bringing your laptop on the airplane, I would suggest NOT working on anything related to your job. As someone who traveled a lot to areas where my industry had major operations, I can't even tell you how many times I looked over at a computer screen and saw confidential details on a company's workings. So if you're going to bring the laptop, at least watch a DVD or play games, and don't work on confidential things.
10. Carry some snacks in your purse. Continental will serve a snack, but it's usually not vegetarian. Other airlines will either give you peanuts or charge you. All of which is fine as long as you don't get delayed or re-routed due to weather. I've been stuck on the tarmac for hours and having a couple of granola bars helped. This is especially helpful if you are flying to any part of the country that might experience a weather delay (read: Northeast, Midwest), but in winter you can never tell.
Enjoy the holiday traveling season!